A tremendous opportunity exists today to transform the face of investor/donor engagement with the vast, untapped markets at the base of the pyramid (BOP). The Artha Platform mission is to help unlock this opportunity.

Table of Contents:

Case studies
Stats of interest
Recent investments
investment opportunities
Platforms of interest
Tweet Corner
@OppFunds: By 2030, #China will have
nearly 4x as many middle-class consumers as the US. #India will have almost 3x. Watch: Ennovent launches: Global Network ! Join the network to find out about, finance & scale the best solutions for BoP in India!

@JoshRuxin: Danone makes a move in dairy in India for BoP consumers:

@BOPInc: BoP Inc signed MoU with @martrural to establish BoP ventures together, with MART bringing in experience on rural marketing in #India #bopbiz

@sociallyconsc: Drishtree – Impacting Rural Societies Economically » New #BOP article on #India #SocEnt @drishteeindia »

@engineer4change: There are more cell phones than toilets in India #ICT4D #BoP

@Sankalpforum: Pradeep Kashyap, CEO MART throws light on #RuralMarketing in #India, says the #BoP is morphing into a diamond.

@21stCIndia: Social enterprise in India – balancing ‘social’ and risk via @guardian

@syamant: Lessons from ancient social networks

@GautamGhosh: Learning from India – business should have a social purpose #Mahindra example

@BusinessWebTool: VOA Business News: India Rethinks Poverty Benchmark: Indian government won’t limit social benefits only to those…

@dskishere: If you think social media is just a fad and hype in India, read these real cases of consumer revolt! #social

@SaanPaurseedi: India Central Bank RBI tweaks foreign investment instruments. No call /put allowed as FDI

@ProfSubramanian: Free Trade’s Impact on Poverty in India May Be Limited:

@MadanRao: Insights from Steve Jobs’ journey to India and the impact on his design thinking

@Dalters: India looks to boost education with the $35 tablet. Hopefully makes more of an impact than the $100 laptop initiative

@BziB: Knock out poverty in India – Invest in a low income entrepreneur

@ed_ontap: India’s mobile schools – converted buses for classrooms for Delhi’s low income children – Video | Guardian


TiEcon Delhi
Date: Sept 30th – Oct 1st, 2011
Location: Hotel Taj Palace in New DelhiThis year’s TieCon, tagged with the theme “Entrepreneurship – Transforming India”, brings together the people within the extensive TiE network of entrepreneurs who have led the Indian ‘Transformation’. This year’s TieCon, tagged with the theme “Entrepreneurship – Transforming India”, brings together the people within the extensive TiE network of entrepreneurs who have led the Indian ‘Transformation’. The program includes a focus on the following subject headings: Innovation and the Evolving DNA of Entrepreneurship; Technology – Enabling & Empowering the Future; Emerging Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Healthcare; Breakthrough Thinkers: Inspired Happiness;  Education & Skill Development; Young Achievers; Lumis Excellence Awards Showcase; Prof the C K Prahalad Memorial Lecture; Indian Agriculture Urgent Prescriptions: New Directions and New Paradigms; Infrastructure & Urbanisation: Driving Growth; Social Entrepreneurship and Cleantech. The TiE Institute objective is to provide actionable knowledge in skills. and entrepreneurial elements for entrepreneurs, and aspiring entrepreneurs. At TiEcon Delhi 2011, TiE will conduct a series of workshops on specific issues & challenges faced by entrepreneurs in their journey from raising funds, & managing finances to effective marketing strategies and hiring talent. For more information, please see:

The first series of Sankalp Investor Entrepreneur Clinic kick-starts!

The Sankalp team is hooking up with the Bombay HUB to launch the first ever Sankalp Investor – Entrepreneur Clinic at their office in Bandra, on Saturday, October 15, from 9am to 12 pm in Mumbai. The Sankalp Investor-Entrepreneur Clinic will be an informal opportunity for promoters of emerging social enterprises to pitch their business models to a small and closed group of investors. Each enterprise will get 20 minutes to deliver a compelling pitch, followed by time to answer questions and a subsequent networking session.

  • partnership with Ashoka India: November 11, 2011 – Bangalore.
  • In partnership with TIE Delhi-NCR: November 26, 2011 – New Delhi
  • In partnership with Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI): December 9, 2011 – Chennai
  • February 10, 2012: Hyderabad

More information here:

Small Business Congress & Awards 2011: October 17-18, 2011 – Hotel Novotel, Mumbai. For more information click here
The India Pride Awards: October 21,2011 – Taj Palace Hotel, Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi (with new categories for Social Change Agent & Impact Creators!) Sponsored by the Dainik Bhaskar Group. More information here:

Villgro Unconvention 2011: 1st – 3rd December, 2011 – IIT Madras Research Park, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. More information here:

World Green Tourism Conference: December 5-7, 2011 – ADNEC, Abu Dhabi, UAE.  More information here: (Blue Yonder from India is featured)
International Conference on Energy and Infrastructure: January 3-4, 2012 – Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. For more information click here.
International Conference on Recent Advances and Challenges in Energy: January 4-6, 2012 – Manipal, Karnataka, India.  More information here:
12th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (presented by the World Sustainable Development Forum and TERI), “Protecting the Global Commons: 20 Years Post-Rio):  2-4 February 2012 – New Delhi. More information here:
EdelGive Foundation announced that NGOs Dhas Gramin Vikas Kendra (Madhya Pradesh) and Comprehensive Rural Health Project (Maharashtra) have won the inaugural “Times of India” Social Impact award. They have been supporting these organisations for over a year and are extremely proud of their achievement!
NASSCOM Foundation bestows Social Innovation Honour 2010 on Save the Baby Girl (, an initiative which tackles malpractices of sex-determination and selective abortion. “SAVE THE BABY GIRL”, is an initiative by the District Collector of Kolhapur, Maharashtra. Through creation of its website and its online entry software, the administration tracks all sonography tests done across all authorised centres in a district. This monitoring mechanism gives the district administration an effective means to stop the malpractice of aborting the girl fetus. The programme also provides economic support to pregnant women for the period of pregnancy, and encourages adoption of female fetus and girls by providing them economic security.


Social Transformers: The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship Development [CSED] was proud to launch the third edition of Social Transformers, a platform for aspiring social entrepreneurs to propose their solutions to the vast group of professionals in the field and an opportunity to materialize their solutions into actions. The event took place on September 16-17th, with the results announced here:

The Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Bombay presents Eureka! 2011- an International Business Plan Competition, with prizes in excess of INR 2.4 million (USD 52,000). Participating teams are to receive intensive mentoring, along with content-rich feedback from leading corporates & entrepreneurs, legal & financial consultancy, and extensive networking opportunities.  Winners will get significant cash prizes, access to angel funding pitch opportunities, and to training and consultancy programs; incubation opportunities with Villgro and UnLtd., major social innovation competitions and other funding opportunities with Grameen Creative Lab will also be part of the program.  Eureka! Social: The B-Plans which cater to the BoP and/or the environment will be classified as Social, and the entries will be judged, mentored and evaluated separately. Each B-Plan should have a clear revenue model and should aim to achieve sustainability in operations in the long term. To register or for more information, visit: 

NASSCOM Foundation launched its 4th Social Innovation Honours, aiming to showcase projects that demonstrate best practices in using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for social transformation. Entries for the countrywide competition are now open, and with some phenomenal projects having been showcased over the past years, NASSCOM Foundation is expecting to identify path breaking projects to be a part of this awards cycle. More information:


Villgro, an incubator of social enterprises, has launched Wantrapreneur 2011, a social business plan competition as part of Unconvention 2011, India’s premier Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship conference.  Wantrapreneur 2011 aims to identify social enterprises that have a potential to transform rural lives. Enterprises in the start-up and early growth stages, across categories such as agriculture, water, dairy, energy etc are encouraged to apply. The shortlisted candidates will be mentored by Villgro and others for 2 months before the final presentations to be held on 1st December in IIT Madras Research Park as part of Unconvention 2011. The winners of the competition will be awarded cash prizes up to Rs.10 lakhs, well rounded media exposure and a chance to get incubated, based on further criteria. Application forms can be accessed at



The 4th EdelGive Social Innovation Honours 2012, is a national awards programme instituted by the EdelGive Foundation, to reward innovative work in the social sector in India. The objective for the EdelGive Social Innovation Honours is to identify and reward organisations that are innovating to empower women in India. Through the awards we seek to raise awareness of issues surrounding girl children, support organisations working on innovative projects and promote sharing and learning of these ideas amongst the private and public sectors.  Awards categories include: Health and well being, Education, Economic Security & Livelihoods, and Rights and Representation.  To apply click on:


Small Business Award 2011 is the country’s most prestigious awards recognizing entrepreneurial excellence in Indian SME sector. The awards aims to recognize and facilitate achievers, innovators and suppliers who have contributed significantly towards the development of Small and Medium enterprises in India. Click here to register.

SWaCH: Partnering with the Poor for Waste Management in Pune
SWaCH, a social enterprise focused on solid waste collection and handling, is India’s first wholly owned cooperative of self-employed ragpickers/waste collectors. In 2007, SWaCH entered into a public-private partnership with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to provide door-to-door waste management services to 200,000 Pune households. A strong wastepickers union, Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP)—the focus of Chikarmane and Narayan’s case study—has existed in Pune since 1993 after it was established during a convention of ragpickers. Since its inception nearly 20 years ago, the union has made significant strides in bettering the lives and working conditions of its members, including gaining identity cards and recognition of their contribution to the municipality’s solid waste management practices. Additionally, KKPKP proved that the ragpickers’ work saved Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporations (PCMC) several crores in waste handling costs.  The PMC authorized the partnership after a pilot project was launched that showed the formalizing of ragpickers into the municipality’s system effectively fills the gap between the household and the municipal waste collection service.  Furthermore, it showed that the residents of Pune—who would now pay the ragpickers rather than them relying on donations—would be willing to pay for the services. The model basically gave SWaCH the role of providing management, operations and personnel; PMC took on the duty of providing infrastructure by paying INR14 (US$.30) per household per month for one year, after which it reduces to zero; and the residents’ agreed to funding a financially and environmentally sustainable model by paying a user fee.
Masuta Producer’s Company
Established in 2005, Masuta Producer’s Company connects tasar silk producers in India with buyers – typically weavers – in the formal market.  Though the company is currently managed by PRADAN, a rural livelihoods NGO, its ownership is made up of over 2,500 rural and tribal women who extract silk from the cocoons and produce the yarn. Having supported Masuta since before its inception, PRADAN has: a) replaced inefficient, harmful, and manual reeling practices with more technologically advanced methods, b) connected producers with necessary inputs (credit, cocoons, and machines), and c) empowered producers through the establishment of a producer’s company in which the women are the shareholders. Having broken-even in its first year of operations, Masuta generated revenue of $2.1 million in 2009-2010 and a profit of $71,000 in the same year. Going forward, Masuta aims to increase productivity among its existing women producers and reach 10,000 women over the next five years. 
Vision Spring: Envisioning a Sustainable Future
VisionSpring (VS) (formerly Scojo Foundation), was established in 2001 to develop market-based delivery channels to distribute affordable, high-quality eyeglasses to the base of the pyramid. VisionSpring and its partner organisations have trained 9,000 vision entepreneurs to conduct eye tests and sell low-cost reading glasses to customers or refer them to an optometrist if perscription glasses are needed. Having started its operations in India, VS has since expanded distribution to El Salvador, Bangladesh, and South Africa, and through a partner, to some Central American countries. To date, VisionSpring has distributed over 600,000 pairs of eyeglasses, which can result in a productivity increase for customers of up to 35%.  Currently the organization is testing distribution through urban optical shops and mobile van units in select locations and has yet to break-even; however, it has doubled year-on-year revenue over the past three years, generating $290,000 in sales income last year. Going forward, VisionSpring will continue expansion and seeks £2 million in funding for the next financial year. 
Welcome to the new and improved Artha Newsletter, which coincides with the (soft) re-launch of the Artha Platform!
The Artha Team has been working through the better part of 2011 to bring you an improved user interface, better functionality and an opportunity to connect with those who share your goal of supporting social business in India.  We aim to provide a space for information exchange for famliy offices, social venture capital funds, venture philanthropies, foundations, DFIs, entrepreneur support organizatoins and individuals who operate in this niche arena, and who share a collective focus on maximizing both social impact and financial return in India. Should you wish to post or feature something in this newsletter in future, please contact us at We welcome your feedback on this newsletter as well as on the beta website! 
Investor Interest Returning to Indian Microfinance Space
Intellecap closes the largest private equity transaction in Indian Microfinance in 2011, predicts healthy trend for the sector. Intellecap announced that it had successfully closed the largest private equity deal in the Indian Microfinance space in 2011, by raising INR 135 crore from International Finance Corporation (IFC) for MFI Bandhan Financial Services Pvt Ltd. The deal marks the single-largest exposure by the World Bank arm to India’s microfinance sector. Significantly, the Bandhan MFI deal follows on the heels of the INR 65 crore third-round funding of Bangalore-based microfinance institution Janalakshmi Financial Services Citi Venture Capital International in June this year. These emerging trends show that investor interest is cautiously and gradually returning to the microfinance space in India. The news comes at a good time for MFIs, many of which are struggling to re-capitalize and align their business models to the changed regulatory environment. (Press Release: Intellecap, September 07, 2011). 
Ratings firms liberal with MFIs: M-Cril Micro-Credit Ratings International Ltd (MCril), the largest ratings agency in India’s 20,000 crore microfinance industry, has alleged that other ratings agencies have been giving higher ratings to microfinance institutions (MFIs) without properly understanding the sector. “They (other ratings agencies) have been too liberal in the assignment of grades to MFIs by giving one to two notches above from what we assigned,” M-Cril managing director Sanjay Sinha stated in an interview. “My point is that they do not understand the (microfinance) sector.” Sinha did not name any particular agency. MFIs give tiny loans to poor borrowers, typically at an interest rate of 24%. They mainly source money from commercial banks to do business. According to Sinha, such higher ratings provided a wrong image to the commercial banks about the creditworthiness of MFIs, prompting them to lend large amounts to them, which in turn resulted in issues such as multiple-lending that eventually led to a crisis in the sector. “Commercial banks and investors that relied on such ratings were inevitably lulled into a comfort zone resulting in excessive lending at a time when the industry was headed for disaster,” Sinha said. “They (other ratings agencies) have been too liberal in the assignment of grades to MFIs by giving one to two notches above from what we assigned,” M-Cril managing director Sanjay Sinha stated in an interview. “My point is that they do not understand the (microfinance) sector.” Sinha did not name any particular agency. MFIs give tiny loans to poor borrowers, typically at an interest rate of 24%. They mainly source money from commercial banks to do business.
Making History in Osmanabad
Waste Ventures has recently made history in creating the first integrated solid waste management project managed by waste pickers with a full municipal contract in India. Our local partner, the waste picker cooperative Jan Seva signed a Statement of Work with the Osmanabad Municipal Corporation to start work in collection, composting, recycling, and generating biomass-briquettes for energy on this past May. Waste pickers will collect garbage from the doorstep of 112,000 people, avert 70% of waste from reaching the dumpsite as it will now be environmentally processed, and reduce greenhouse gases. Perhaps most importantly, approximately 140 waste pickers will become professional waste managers – earning three times their former income in a stable manner that will allow them to send their children to school and break the cycle of poverty.  Waste Ventures is working closely with Jan Seva to create social, environmental, and financial benchmarks, create its management systems, train waste pickers to compost organic waste, and help the cooperative sell its outputs (recyclables and compost) in the local market.  This is just the beginning. 35 municipalities, local partners, and resident groups have expressed a desire to work with Waste Ventures. They have recently started working with state government officials to identify progressive municipalities where they may implement their solutions in three states.
Healthcare Innovation: The Jaipur Foot
For the vast community of people in India who have disabilities, a new social enterprise steps in to provide a critical service that helps mitigate the risks of falling into a poverty trap that push the poor further from access to ever-important tools such as education, employment and healthcare. In Jaipur, India, Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samitibegan developing and manufacturing the Jaipur Foot in 1968, a handmade artificial foot and lower-limb prosthesis. In the US, this new limb would cost US$8,000 at a minimum, but often as much as US$25,000. The Jaipur Foot costs only about US$30, but is provided free of charge to all BoP patients, which, says BMVSS, is 99% of their customer base. BMVSS was one of the first to respond to the needs of the physically challenged, and today, BMVSS fits 16,000 patients annually with its prosthesis. The organization as a whole serves 60,000 people in total with the Jaipur Foot, calipers, and other aids and appliances. The prosthetic limbs provide new opportunities for people who have often been immobile for many years.  The development of a plan for low-cost production and mass manufacturing had to take into account that fittings needed to be accessible and quick to reduce patients’ time spent away from engaging in livelihood activities. Also, the limited trained workforce in manufacturing prosthetics drove the development of a simplified manufacturing process using local materials to keep the costs down. BMVSS skilled artisans who manufacture the feet are paid INR 5,000 (US$110) – nearly double the estimated per capita income in India—and benefits are included. (Source: Searchlight South Asia Newsletter, Sept 2011, Vol 2, Issue 12).
OneWorld Health to Tackle Parasitic Worm Infections in India
OneWorld Health will work with the Jharkhand State Department of Health in India to reduce infections caused by a parasitic worm. Soil-transmitted helminths, or STHs, affects the gastrointestinal track and can cause severe blood and vitamin deficiencies. An estimated 2 billion people globally have active infections at any given time, according to South San Francisco-based OneWorld, causing abdominal ache, diarrhea, weakness and, in some cases, continuing intestinal blood loss that leads to anemia. 
India’s Mobile Schools
In Delhi, children from low-income households are being encouraged to attend school on old buses that have been converted into classrooms. The buses drive to selected points of the city and offer two hours of lessons a day. The scheme is supported by Unicef and the local authorities. For more information click here. 
Poor Pregnant Women in India give Birth in Private Hosipats
For less than $100, poor, pregnant women in India can now give birth in a private hospital focusing on low-income families, with comparable quality to expensive, private ones. This is an alternative to overcrowded, poorly staffed government-funded hospitals.  Lifespring is a rapidly growing chain of hospitals in India that provides maternity and delivery care. For one low price, as little as $90, it provides complete delivery services. This is one-third to one-half of the fees charged at other hospitals. For more information click here
From No Doctors to E-Doctors in Rural India
Healthpoint Services, a for-profit start-up company in India has leveraged the country’s expanding mobile and internet infrastructure to establish a network of e-health points.  The company’s eight health points include clinics set up in different villages, in which villagers can consult a doctor who they interact with through a large screen. Given the country’s often inadequate healthcare services, particularly in rural and remote areas, the clinics allow patients to consult a doctor and have diagnostics tests done. Healthpoint Services’ founder Al Hammond explains that the company is able to cover its costs by charging approximately 80 cents for an appointment with a doctor and $1 for diagnostics tests.  The company was initially funded by U.S. based angel investors and hopes to eventually expand into South America and Africa. For more information click here
Lafarge eyes rural housing for India biz
Lafarge, a French cement, concrete, and construction company is considering expanding in the low-cost housing market in India. Having estimated that the country’s low-cost housing market is worth $238 billion, Lafarge aims to use cost-effective technology, less expensive material, and a more efficient construction process to help cater to India’s urban demand of 21 million low-cost housing units. The company has also developed rural housing solutions for rural India. For more information click here
World Economic Forum selects FINO as technology pioneeres
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has selected FINO as a Technology Pioneer and one of the 25 most innovative start-ups globally.  With over 38 million customers and an expansion rate of 1.5 million customers per month, FINO offers customers a business and banking technology platform to facilitate access to banks and financial institutions, government agencies, and insurance companies. FINO promotes financial inclusion through its platform which allows mainstream financial and insurance institutions to reach un-banked populations at the base of the pyramid.  For more information click here.

Ennovent has launched its online Global Network on The online Global Network will bring together entrepreneurs, investors and experts to discover, finance and scale the best solutions that make a sustainable impact on low income people.  Register for free and create an impact at the BoP! The Network offers the following benefits for:

  • Entrepreneurs: Get visibility, access to funding, mentors and peers
  •  Investors: Collaborate with other investors & get deal flow
  • Experts:  Find business leads & volunteering opportunities
The Philanthropy Leadership Confluence (PLC), organised by the Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy (CAP) and Samhita took place this past June 2011 and brought together a diverse set of individual donors, Indian and international foundations, sector intermediaries as well as social investors to debate and discuss how donors can collaborate to ensure that their funding creates the greatest social impact. More information:
What’s up Bharat launched on Sunday, October 2, in New Delhi and online at What’s Up Bharat aspires to bring together artists, intellectuals and professionals from the lower and middle classes on to one platform for constructive exchange of information and services on various issues. The range of issues covered fall under three categories: ‘freedom’, which deals with corruption, security and foreign affairs; ‘inclusion’, on issues of poverty, markets and environment; and ‘unity’ in gender, religion and society.
The iCats Program – Use your skills to create positive impact
LGT Venture Philanthropy is an impact investor supporting organizations with outstanding social and environmental impact. As part of the support, the iCats Program provides intellectual capital to those organizations by matching experienced business professionals with great temporary positions. Corporations can leverage the iCats Program to identify new business opportunities as well as develop a responsible leadership culture. To learn more about LGT Venture Philanthropy, click here.
Rangsutra Crafts India – Microfinance – Debt and Equity – Up to $500k

Founded in 2006, for-profit company Rangsutra ensures sustainable livelihoods for rural, poor artisans and farmers by giving them the opportunity to create top quality handmade products based on principles of fair trade and respect for both the customer and the producer. Rangsutra empowers women and gives its 1,200 artisans a sense of pride and ownership as company shareholders. The company has previously attracted funding from Aavishkaar Goodwell andis now seeking debt and equity investments to increase its capacity and efficiency of operations at its headquarters in order to support its growth to 10,000 artisans.

CASHPOR Micro Credit – India – Microfinance – Subordinated Debt – Up to $7mn

CASHPOR is giving Below Poverty Line women primarily in rural Uttar Pradesh and Bihar the chance to access financial and other vital credit plus services in an honest, timely and efficient manner. This not-for-profit company also empowers women through healthcare and capacity-building initiatives, provides education scholarships for clients’ children, reduces poverty and generates employment. CASHPOR’s positive impact is demonstrated by high social ratings from MCril and the Progress out of Poverty Index. CASHPOR is looking for subordinated debt investments to expand into more districts in India and to maintain their Capital Adequacy Ratio.

Some 45 million Indians Rise Above US$1.25 a day: Report
According to a survey of more than 15,000 Indian households by the India Development Foundation,nearly 45 million people saw their incomes rise above US$1.25 (INR 56) per day in the two decades ending 2010. The report indicates that “There is significant correlation in both India and Bangladesh between the presence of microfinance and the movement out of poverty in the rural areas of both the countries, especially in the early years.” The report indicates that “There is significant correlation in both India and Bangladesh between the presence of microfinance and the movement out of poverty in the rural areas of both the countries, especially in the early years.” (Source: Searchlight South Asia Newsletter, Sept 2011, Vol 2, Issue 12). Click here for the Link.
Food Inflation Reaches New Highs
Recent analysis shows that food inflation in India has reached 10.05% in the week ending August 20. In the previous week, food inflation was at 9.8%. Fruit prices have become 21.58% more expensive, as have vegetables by 15.78%. The prices of onion have increased by 57.01%, and the prices of potatoes increased by 13.31% compared to the previous year.(Source: Searchlight South Asia Newsletter, Sept 2011, Vol 2, Issue 12).
Click here for the Link.

Highest Number of Newborn Deaths in India: WHO
According to a study by the World Health Organization, more newborn babies die in India every year than in any other country. India has more than 900,000 newborn deaths per year, which accounts for almost 28% of the global total. (Source: Searchlight South Asia Newsletter, Sept 2011, Vol 2, Issue 12).
Click here for the Link

Norwegian Microfinance Initiative Invests in Indian MFI, Utkarsh Micro Finance Pvt Ltd
In a joint press release, the Norwegian Microfinance Initiative (NMI) and Varanasi-based Utkarsh Micro Finance Pvt Ltd (Utkarsh) recently announced that the NMI Frontier Fund KS had led an INR 250 Mn Series B equity investment in Utkarsh. As a registered Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC), Utkarsh currently operates in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It has 56 branches, over 57,000 active clients and a loan portfolio of INR 410 Mn.  Aavishkaar Goodwell (AG), an existing investor in the MFI also participated in this Series B round of investment in the company. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is also an existing investor in Utkarsh and has been supporting the firm since March 2010.  Intellecap was the sole advisor for this transaction.  The NMI is a new and innovative strategic partnership between the Norwegian public and private sectors that will invest in MFIs in developing countries and provide professional assistance and technical support for these institutions; its mission NMI is to contribute to the empowerment of poor people and to the creation of jobs, wealth, and economic and social sustainability in developing countries.
LeapFrog fund invests in Indian micro-insurance firm
Financial services company, Shriram Group, has received a $15 million investment from LeapFrog Investments, a $135 million social investment fund, that is backed by George Soros, Pierre Omidyar, and a consortium of banks, pension funds, and reinusrers.  Shriram Group focuses on financial services including insurance products for low-income groups in India. The $15 investment  will help its business unit, Shriram Capital, continue to reach consumers with an annual income of $2,500.  In addition, Shriram Group will increase its coverage so that clients are covered up to $11,000, more than double what they have been covered to date. The company will charge a monthly premium of $22 and aims to expand quickly in a market where only 2% of the company’s target demographics have insurance.
Lok Capital invests $3 million rural BPO
Gurgaon-based Lok Capital venture fund in India has recently invested $3 million into rural business process outsourcing (BPO) firm RuralShores Business Services Ltd. to help the company expand into different states and double its number of employees from 1,000 to 2,000. Investors in RuralShores now include HDFC Bank, which financed its first round of funding, and Lok Capital; together, they own 49% of the company. RuralShores, which serves approximately 20 clients from the banking, financial and insurance, and telecom sectors, will help create jobs in villages through its back office operations.  The three year old company is currently a market leader in the emerging rural BPO sector. Please click here for the link.
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