Acumen Investment Gives Fund Stake in Growing Technology Platform Transforming Rural India
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Acumen Fund, a leading catalyst for sustainable, scalable solutions addressing poverty in South Asia and Africa, announced today that it has invested $1.6 million (%7ERs.72 million) in Drishtee Dot Com, a rural Information and Communications Technology (ICT) platform operating more than 1000 kiosks in India that provide computer and English education, e-governance and digital photography services. Acumen Fund?s investment of $1 million (%7ERs.45 million) gives it an equity stake in Drishtee and is being used to finance the growth of Drishtee?s kiosk base and officially launch Quiver Infoservices Limited, a Drishtee subsidiary that will focus on expanding and improving the offerings of the company?s kiosks, including health-related services for the rural poor. Acumen Fund is also providing a concurrent loan to Drishtee of $600,000 (%7ERs.27 million).
Drishtee is using the financing from Acumen Fund to scale from just over 700 kiosks in six states to over 30,000 kiosks in 23 states, primarily in rural villages, as well as add four new services for the poor. As Drishtee scales in both kiosks and services, it will move towards sustainability, first locally and then at an organizational level. Drishtee?s investment in infrastructure (both physical and virtual) is enabling it to expand its focus to areas that impact core livelihood and living standards issues such as access to healthcare services. This ?bundling? and distribution of services will be driven by Quiver, the primary focus of Acumen Fund?s investment into Drishtee.
More than any other factor, lack of quality healthcare has the distinction of making the maximum number of rural villagers slip below the poverty line. A recent Disha survey found that close to 12 percent of rural income is spent on healthcare and nearly 60 percent of this population takes loans at annual interest rates of 60-120 percent in order to pay for prolonged treatment or hospitalization. Acumen Fund?s investment is enabling Drishtee to develop health services including access to quality medicine and health information.