New investors in India’s most active Micro VC impact fund demonstrate that commercial and philanthropic investors are drawn to impact investing
2 September 2014. San Francisco: Unitus Seed Fund, India’s most active seed-stage impact investor, has secured an additional USD $7 million in commitments for a total of USD $20 million for its India-focused Micro VC fund. This significantly exceeds the fund’s minimum target size of USD $15 million, demonstrating interest in Unitus’ investment strategy and overall enthusiasm for impact investing opportunities in India. The funds will be invested in early-stage startups operating in India in sectors including healthcare, education, agriculture, skill development/livelihoods, technology and basic necessities. Unitus Seed Fund has already announced 13 investments in India.
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New institutional and individual investors in Unitus Seed Fund
New institutional investors include Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Lemelson Foundation, Sorenson Impact Foundation, Deshpande Foundation, and Wadhwani Foundation.
New individual investors include Amazon executive Diego Piacentini, Microsoft executives Soma Somasegar, Bharat Shah, Anoop Gupta and Nagesh Pabbisetty, Social Venture Partners leaders Todd Vogel and Lance Fors, financial services executive Geeta Aiyer, McKinsey executive Dilip Wagle, Concur Technologies CEO Steve Singh, and multiple others.
“We are very pleased to have such a prominent group of leadership investors in our pioneering India-focused Micro VC fund,” said Dave Richards, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Unitus Seed Fund. “We believe that there is a great opportunity to invest in a new generation of entrepreneurs who are building disruptive new businesses serving the one billion under-served low-income market in India.”
Commercial and philanthropic investors drawn to impact investing
While some of Unitus’ new investors are well known names in impact investing (e.g., Lemelson and Sorenson), most of them are first-time impact investors. “I have been looking for investment opportunities that align my entrepreneurial and business passion with driving sustainable and scaled social change,” said Steve Singh, CEO of Concur Technologies, Inc. “Via Unitus and other impact investments, I expect to receive a competitive rate of financial return and to see millions of lives improved over the coming years.”
“While we have been able to deliver regional impact through our Sandbox initiative based in South India, we realize that for the best entrepreneurs to go national, more capital and support is needed than we can provide,” said Desh Deshpande, Trustee of Deshpande Foundation. “We see our investment in Unitus Seed Fund as highly complementary to and syngeristic with our philanthropic goals to realize impact across India.”
India-based investors can still participate in the fund
Unitus is not accepting any new investors into its dollar-denominated seed fund. Its affiliated India-based rupee-denominated seed fund (SEBI-approved AIF structure) is accepting investments from Indian nationals and non-resident Indians (NRI/NRO) until December 2014.
Joining prominent group of existing investors in Unitus Seed Fund
These new investors have joined with previous global investors including Jeff Clark (Impact Investment Leaders), Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures), Hari Kumar (Formerly Goldman Sachs), and Bob Gay (Co-Founder of Bain Capital), Mike Murray (Former Microsoft & Apple executive), Pradeep Singh (Aditi) and other investment leaders.
Additionally, Unitus Seed Fund has raised commitments from India-based investors including T.V. Mohandas Pai (Formerly Infosys CFO), Dr. Ranjan Pai (CEO of Manipal Education and Medical Group), Hemendra Kothari (DSP Blackrock), Pramod Saxena (Oxigen), Hema Hattangady (Conzerv/Schneider), Ananda Kallugadde (Neobytes), Rajeev Bakshi (METRO Cash & Carry), Ravi Venkatesan (Infosys, Microsoft, Cummins) and Srikanth Iyer (Pearson, Edurite).
About Unitus Seed Fund
Unitus Seed Fund is India’s most active seed impact investor, funding BoP startups that serve large low-income populations. Unitus Seed Fund plans to grow its portfolio of 13 companies to at least 30 startups in sectors including skill development / livelihoods, agriculture, technology for development, healthcare, education, and access to basic necessities. Unitus Seed Fund is part of the Unitus Group, a successful financial services group operating in multiple emerging markets since 2000. Unitus Seed Fund has offices in Bangalore and Seattle. More about Unitus Seed Fund >