Nine social ventures announced as investment recipients of Artha Venture Challenge 2013 and the second edition of the Artha Venture Challenge launched


Of the 15 ambitious social enterprises that were selected as the finalists for the Artha Venture Challenge (AVC) – a national competition designed to identify, select and provide the best socially focused ventures access to mentoring, connections and funding – nine have been announced as winning recipients of the match investment.


Those in the successful cohort for AVC 2013 are Aakar Innovations, Avani BioEnergy, Banka Bioloo, Boond, Edubridge, Knids Green, Sevamob, Tamul Plates and Villgro Innovation Marketing Pvt. Ltd.


The above nine investment recipients will now receive matched funding of up to INR 30 lakh in equity from the Artha Platform subject to due diligence and investment approval. Interestingly, the focus of the recipients is both diverse in focus and impact. While Aakar Innovations is addressing female sanitation issues with affordable sanitary napkins, Banka Bioloo specializes in human waste management and Boond opens distribution centres in remote rural areas and trains local youth to sell and service renewable energy products.


Learn more about the AVC 2013 winners here


In its inaugural edition, AVC 2013 received applications from 116 enterprises across India. The cohort of 15 finalists, which was announced in September 2013 then received support to build a compelling growth story by securing access to expert mentors, connections to a closed network of impact investors and significant media exposure.


Of these finalists the above nine enterprises successfully leveraged the extensive capacity building support provided over the last eight months to raise various rounds of funding in the forms of grant, equity and debt.


Audrey Selian, Director, Artha Platform and the newly formed Artha Networks Inc., comments, “AVC 2013 was a pioneering initiative for early-stage social ventures in India and was inspired by the UK Big Venture Challenge run by UnLtd UK. It is exciting to note that similar to the UK, AVC 2013 enabled a reasonable number of nine co-investment deals to be closed in 12 months. Although there is still a lot to learn, we were able to take one step closer to replacing ‘the talk with action’ and strengthening early stage impact investments in India.”


Given the success of AVC 2013, at the ceremony celebrating the recipients for this first edition, the Artha Platform also announced the launch of the Artha Venture Challenge 2014.


Through the AVC, the goal of the Artha Platform to address the missing middle and the issue of transaction costs in social finance is being addressed. Social enterprises struggle to raise patient capital in the INR 25 – 100 lakh range, and Artha is all about creating an environment for higher efficiencies in process and subsequent levels of appropriate risk-adjusted expectations.   AVC 2014 has now been launched and applications are once again invited from entrepreneurs that have completed proof of concept and are seeking growth investment.


Talking about how AVC stands apart as a Challenge, Shelley Saxena, Founder – Sevamob said, “AVC’s matching equity model and the support provided for raising matched investment is very entrepreneur friendly. The Challenge is an excellent source of securing early stage funding for socially-focused enterprises.”


Sombodhi Ghosh, Co-Founder – Aakar Innovations further adds, “The AVC model is a much needed change in the impact investment space, providing the freedom and flexibility to entrepreneurs to raise funds on favorable terms. I hope there are many more such initiatives in the social sector, which drastically needs a reformation to make impact investments happen in the right spirit.”


Entrepreneurs operating within the sectors of Agriculture, Energy, Water, Livelihoods and others that meet the eligibility criteria for the Artha Venture Challenge are invited to apply before 11 June 2014.


Apply for AVC 2014 now


Following the close of applications, AVC 2014 will announce a cohort of (up to) 15 finalists in September and each of the finalists will get the opportunity to pitch for up to INR 30 lakh of equity funding, if matched by the equivalent or more in co-investment.


The Artha Venture Challenge is funded by the Artha Platform, whose core funder/founder is the team at Rianta Capital Zurich. The Artha Venture Challenge aims to strengthen early stage investment in social ventures in India, help investors to de-risk through syndication and strategically deploy resources, partnerships and co-investment where it matters the most.


Ennovent – an organisation that accelerates innovations for sustainability in low-income markets – will be managing the Artha Venture Challenge 2014 in partnership with the Artha Platform.


For more information on AVC 2014 and to apply, visit


About Artha:

The Artha Platform is a members-only online community and network dedicated to building stronger relationships between impact investors/donors and social entrepreneurs and the core capacity building support organizations working on or in India. Artha has been created to support ambitious Indian social entrepreneurs with their goal of raising impact investment, and to support the investor community and their partners in getting past the pain of due diligence on their ventures. The Artha Platform is an independent initiative supported by Rianta Capital Zurich.


Category: General

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