Unitus Seed Fund Launches with Three Social Enterprise Investments in India

Monday, February 6, 2012

Seattle, WA and Bangalore, India (PRWEB) February 06, 2012

Unitus Labs, an international non-profit focused on reducing global poverty through economic self-empowerment, is launching today the Unitus Seed Fund, a new seed stage venture fund that invests in Indian startup businesses with potential for large-scale poverty impact. Unitus Seed Fund is also announcing its first three investments in Indian startups Bodhicrew Services, Hippocampus Learning Centres, and Milaap Social Ventures.

“After a decade of helping accelerate and scale the Indian microfinance industry, we are excited to launch the new Unitus Seed Fund initiative in order to support development of more new pro-poor businesses,” said Dave Richards, CEO of Unitus Labs and Managing Director of Unitus Seed Fund. “We are seeing a new group of highly capable and socially motivated entrepreneurs who believe that they can realize more wide-scale and sustainable poverty impact by operating as a business rather than as a non-profit. The Unitus family of entities has always been willing to invest on the cutting edge of economic empowerment concepts and projects.”

Unitus Seed Fund targets investments in companies meeting the following criteria:

  • Businesses serving Indian markets
  • Potential for scaled impact on 800 million people in India living on less than $2 per day
  • Strong, experienced management team
  • Business developed beyond the concept stage
  • Clearly differentiated value proposition
  • Strategies to build effective distribution and marketing programs

“Unitus Seed Fund addresses an important gap in the social impact venture ecosystem by funding and supporting businesses which are beyond bootstrap but not yet far enough along to receive growth capital,” said Vineet Rai, Founder and Chief Executive at Aavishkaar Venture Management Service and a pioneer investor for inclusive economic development in India. “If they can find and nurture more businesses to the point of readiness to scale rapidly, it will allow other social venture funds to focus on realizing the impact potential of these businesses.”

“Unitus Seed Fund is providing a critical role as a supplier of very high risk, flexible capital to entrepreneurs who are trying to improve the lives of poor families in many important sectors including education, healthcare and livelihoods,” said Samit Ghosh, Managing Director at Ujjivan Financial Services and investee of Unitus Lab’s Unitus Equity Fund. “We received very valuable funding and management support from Unitus during our vulnerable early stages of our history. Today, we are recognized as one of the best microfinance institutions in India providing financial and microfinance plus services to over million customers and their families across twenty states in India, thanks to our friends like Unitus.”

Source: Press Release (link opens in a new window)

microfinance, poverty alleviation, venture capital