Social enterprise Incubator Villgro invests in three start-ups

Monday, September 8, 2014

By Shonali Advani

BANGALORE: Social enterprise Incubator Villgro has invested in three startups, marking its first set of funding this fiscal year. It is targeting to invest in 25-30 more startups by the end of the fiscal year.

Ujjeewan Healthcare, Aindra Systems and Scholowiz Educational Solutions, all early-stage companies, have secured funding from Villgro.

The incubator is launching an early-stage social impact fund by March 2015 with an initial corpus of Rs 20 crore, primarily to support its incubation work. “We’ve received commitment for a little over 50 per cent of the fund size and looking to make up the balance,” said chief operating officer PR Ganapathy.

Unwilling to disclose more, he said some of those who made the commitment are from the donor foundations already supporting Villgro’s work. Ten foundations, including Rockefeller, Citi and Lemelson fund Villgro’s activities through grants.

The new investments range betweenRs 6 and Rs 8 lakh, to be used to scale up businesses. Villgro will work with these startups to build business models and go-to market strategies around their ideas. “If they hit certain milestones, we can fund them with up to Rs 65 lakh over three years,” Ganapathy said.

Villgro hasn’t taken any equity stake in these startups because of legal constraints on them as notfor-profit with foreign contributions.

However, once it gives out substantial money, a portion can be given as returnable capital. “We won’t take a stake now as they’re very early stage with unproven models,” Ganapathy said. Ujjeewan provides telemedicine and primary medical services in West Bengal under the brand ’Healthypariwar’.

Source: Economic Times (link opens in a new window)

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