Why the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation is Investing in This Indian Lender

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This spring, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation invested $500,000 in IntelleGrow, an Indian company that provides customized debt finance to small and growing businesses in India to support small- and medium-enterprise (SME) startups. The Dell Foundation’s most recent show of support for IntelleGrow follows the foundation’s investment of $1 million in February 2013. At that time, Dell’s donation equaled 2/3 of of IntelleGrow’s total loan portfolio.

The Dell Foundation’s IntelleGrow gift shouldn’t surprise anyone given this funder’s interest in India, and also its embrace of impact investing—which the foundation says aims “not just to help socially driven entrepreneurs launch new products, but to open new markets that routinely provide families living in urban poverty with access to the best-in-class financial, educational and other tools that can help them transform their lifetime prospects.”

IntelleGrow’s quantitative approach and quantifiable success make it a natural fit for the metric-focused Dell Foundation. The venture debt company estimates that the more than 60 SMEs it has financed since 2010 have improved nearly 1.7 million Indian lives through job creation and the social impact of its clients’ SMEs working on healthcare, agricultural supply, clean energy, education, finance, and water and sanitation.

IntelleGrow’s positive impact doesn’t stop at the Indian border; the firm estimates that IntelleGrow-financed SMEs have prevented the release of 89 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the environment, slowing the pace of climate change worldwide.

The Dell Foundation’s 2013 IntelleGrow investment wasn’t its first. The foundation collaborated with the Shell Foundation and Intellecap, a financial social enterprise that targets its investments to positively impact the “base of the economic pyramid” worldwide, to provide IntelleGrow with seed funding to get started. The Omidyar Network also boosted IntelleGrow this March with a $4 million demonstration of confidence in the venture debt company’s mission.

Source: Inside Philanthropy (link opens in a new window)

impact investing, microfinance