Rockfeller & Omidyar with Dasra launch ‘impact investment’ fund in India


Mahesh R Kulkarni | Business Standard | 21 January 2013


Rockfeller & Omidyar with Dasra launch ‘impact investment’ fund in India


Global impact investors Rockefeller Foundation and Omidyar Network have come together with Dasra, a strategic philanthropy foundation, to launch the Impact Investing Forum in India (IIEF).


The Forum has announced the launch of the IIEF to catalyse collective action and market development in India via grants being rolled out to impact investing eco-system builders in India, a statement said.


A $8,00,000 grant was launched at the event by Rockefeller Foundation and Omidyar Network to build the impact-investing ecosystem in the country. Dasra will administer the grant over the next few months.
“We see a lot of potential for impact investing in India. With this grant, we hope to build an ecosystem that nurtures innovation, unlocks different forms of capital and fosters collaboration”, said Margot Brandenburg, Associate Director, Rockefeller Foundation.


Many young organizations today have risen to the challenge of solving some of India’s hardest developmental challenges through market based solutions; investors have become increasingly attracted to these types of investments. According to a recent study by the Planning Commission, investments by impact investment funds in India have crossed Rs 1,200 crore mark and are growing.



Speaking at the launch event, here, attended by over 100 business and social leaders in India, Neera Nundy, Dasra’s Partner and Co-Founder said “We are bringing together different stakeholders and building a common voice to boost impact investing in India and take it to the next level.”


The event was kicked off with a panel discussion led by Rohini Nilekani, a philanthropist, Vineet Rai, Founder, Aavishkaar Fund, and Manish Sabharwal, Chairman and Co-Founder, Teamlease Services.



Jayant Sinha, Partner, Omidyar Network said, “India is the global epicenter for impact investing. We need to focus on a sector-based approach and build market innovation, policy and infrastructure together to enable impact investing to flourish in India and move millions out of poverty.”


He also added, “To create impact in India there is a role for markets and state action. ‘Sarkar’ and ‘Bazaar’ need to work together to deliver results of impact investing. It’s only when market forces are at play that impact investing works. Ours is a combined network of for-profit and non-profit grant making.”



Vineet Rai, Founder, Aavishkaar Fund, who has worked in the impact investing space for over 17 years, talked about some of the core issues that impact investing funds deal with on a daily basis. “A lot more patient capital needs to be unlocked and funders need to be willing to wait a long while before their investments can become profitable.”




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