India Microfinance| Feb 8, 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.
“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 has made its first three seed investments — all in India — in three sectors: skill development and job placement services, affordable rural education services, and new areas of microcredit financial services. These Indian startups are Bodhicrew Services, Hippocampus Learning Centres, and Milaap Social Ventures. Unitus Capital acted as a financial advisor to Unitus Seed Fund on these investments.
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