With a mandate to promote inclusive business, the IDFC Foundation has recently invested just over $100,000 in Mumbai-based Ziqita Healthcare and approximately $500,000 in Mumbai-based Pipal Tree Ventures. Ziqita Healthcare, an emergency medical ambulance provider, operates in Mumbai, Kerala, and Bihar, while Pipal Tree Ventures, a company that provides vocational training for unemployed rural youth currently works in Andhra Pradesh. BY PALLAVI S

IDFC arm’s cumulative investment in both these for-profit social ventures comes to Rs 3 crore.

IDFC Foundation, a division of the financial services group IDFC that seeks to promote the inclusive and sustainable delivery of infrastructure service in India, has struck two investment deals worth Rs 3 crore. The foundation invests out of its Infrastructure Fund, built on an annual allocation from IDFC’s consolidated net profit.

IDFC has invested Rs 47 lakh in Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd, a for-profit company set up in 2005 by a group of professionals. It provides emergency medical ambulance service in Mumbai under the brand ‘Dial 1298 for Ambulance.’ The initiative was set up in association with London Ambulance Service, a UK government Agency, which has provided the processes, systems, protocols, training and project implementation assistance.

This company’s business model involves cross-subsidising poor patients (those getting admitted to municipal hospitals) by richer patients (those getting admitted to private hospitals). It has also forayed into providing emergency ambulances services on behalf of state governments (‘108’ ambulance service) under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model and operates such contracts in Kerala and Bihar.

Ziqitza also has attracted a strategic equity investment from Emergency Medical Services Corporation Inc., one of the top providers of emergency medical services in the USA. Other investors in the firm include Acumen Fund (a social investment fund), HDFC Ltd and India Value Fund Advisors (though its affiliate).

IDFC Foundation, keen to blend its parent body’s objectives regarding PPP capacity-building, policy and corporate social responsibility (CSR), has also invested Rs 2.25 crore as equity commitment in Pipal Tree Ventures Pvt Ltd.

Pipal Tree Ventures is also a for-profit company, founded in 2007 by a group of professionals. It provides vocational training to unemployed rural youth (typically school dropouts) for semi-skilled work in the construction industry (steel fixing/bar-bending, surveying, heavy machine operation, etc.). It operates on a hub-and-spoke model, and currently has a training hub near Hyderabad and five recruitment-cum-basic training spokes at Lalganj & Rai Bareilly (UP), Muzaffarpur (Bihar), Nasik (Maharashtra) and Shahapura (Rajasthan). What’s more, Pipal targets to train 50,000 youth over the next five years and also works with its graduates for a year on the construction sites to ensure delivery of performance standards.

The company has technical partnerships with Technical & Further Education (New South Wales, Australia), one of the largest training providers in the world, and SES, the Foundation of German Industry for International Cooperation, as well as with Doosan, Volvo, Schwing Stetter, etc. for equipment training. http://www.vccircle.com/500/news/idfc-foundation-invests-in-ziqitza-healthcare-pipal-tree-ventures