Unitus Seed Fund India Receives SEBI Approval for Impact Investing
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has approved the start of investment activities for Unitus Seed Fund India (USFI), registered as a Category-I, Venture Capital Fund under SEBI Regulations (Alternative Investment Funds) 2012. While impact investing has been established in India for over a decade, attracting more than INR 4000 crore (US$800 million) of predominantly-overseas risk capital, Unitus Seed Fund India’s approval by SEBI marks the first time that Indian national investors have access to a seed-stage impact fund. USFI already has INR 20 crore (US$3.3 million) of committed capital and plans to raise up to a total of INR 50-75 crore (US$ 9-12 million) from local investors to take minority positions in “BoP Startups” – companies building scalable businesses delivering improved livelihoods and innovative affordable products & services to 100 crore (1 billion) low-income people in India..
“We see tremendous opportunity to mobilize Indian investment capital by enabling investors get in on the ground floor of exciting new businesses that are targeting the massively-under-served market of a 100 crore (1 billion) Indians who get by on under less than 2 lakhs (US$3,300) annual family income but nonetheless represent enormous purchasing power,” said Will Poole, co-founder and Managing Partner of Unitus Seed Fund. “We anticipate investing in up to 40 of these BoP Startups over the next 4 years. There is dearth of seed capital in this segment of the market, making the investment opportunities very attractive,” he added.