First it has declared investments into GoCoop, an online marketplace for cooperatives and community-based enterprises, and Welcare Health Systems, a low-cost eye screening services company. The investment into GoCoop was made together with Indian Angel Network, India’s first network of angel investors and evidence of the country’s nouveau riche.
Both amounts were undisclosed. However in January, when USF announced it has raised $8 million from a number of founding investors, it predicted investment amounts of roughly $100,000 each into ten ventures throughout the year. According to its website, USF has invested in a total of eight portfolio companies.
The second announcement is one of expansion. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has approved the start of Unitus Seed Fund India (USFI), a registered “Category-I, Venture Capital Fund” under SEBI Regulations, which will operate alongside USF.
USFI will become India’s first local seed-stage impact fund (capital for impact investing activity in the country largely come from abroad), already raising INR 20 crore (US$3.3 million) with plans to raise up to total of INR 50-75 crore (US$ 9-12 million) from Indian investors. The new fund is expected to create more “impact deals” between Indian investors and BoP ventures.
“We see tremendous opportunity to mobilize Indian investment capital by enabling investors get in on the ground floor of exciting new businesses that are targeting the massively-under-served market of a 100 crore (1 billion) Indians who get by on under less than 2 lakhs (US$3,300) annual family income but nonetheless represent enormous purchasing power,” said Will Poole, co-founder and Managing Partner of Unitus Seed Fund, in a statement.
“We anticipate investing in up to 40 of these BoP Startups over the next 4 years. There is dearth of seed capital in this segment of the market, making the investment opportunities very attractive.”
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