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Social Finance launches $2 billion India funds

Udit Agarwal

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Social Finance launches $2 billion India funds

Global impact investor Social Finance has launched two India focused funds, targeting a corpus of around ₹7,400 crores ($1 billion) each.

The first fund is called the India Education Outcomes Fund, will be focused on improving the quality of education in India. It will leverage technology to improve learning outcomes in subjects like mathematics for children in grades 6-10. The fund will look to enhance the learning experience for students in grades 1-3, along with improving completion rates for girls in government and affordable private schools.

The second fund is called India Impact Fund, the fund will be raised in partnership with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) Finance Group. It will be focused on bridging funding gaps, to accelerate debt financing for impact enterprises, working towards UN SDG. India Impact Fund will target equity funding for small lenders in priority sectors like agriculture, MSME, housing, social infrastructure, and renewable energy.

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The objectives of both the funds are in line with Indian Government’s initiatives like Make in India, Skill India, Swachh Bharat, Digital India, and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. Along with announcing the new funds, the Social Finance India also announced the appointment of Govind Sankaranarayanan as its CEO. He is an alumnus of IIMBangalore and has previously worked with Tata Capital, serving as its COO.

Speaking about the launch, Mr Govind Sankaranarayanan, MD and CEO, Social Finance India said, “India is ground zero for meeting the challenges of the UN SDG goals and Social Finance India will catalyze different types of innovative financial instruments and financial intermediaries to help bridge funding gaps across a range of sectors. An important part of this effort will be the sharpening of our focus on outcomes and improving the sophistication of impact measurement.”

Social Finance India is a new catalytic impact investment intermediary, creating products for positive social change and environmental outcomes in India. It is a part of the global Social Finance Network.

Tata Trusts and Omidyar Network have backed Social Finance India. The board of Social Finance India comprises of IDFC Bank founder Rajiv Lall, Ashish Dhawan, founder of Chrys Capital, and Vikram Gandhi, former vice chairman of Credit Suisse.

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IIM-A incubator, OmniActive’s Mariwala invest in agri-tech startup Sattvaponics

Udit Agarwal

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Mumbai-based agritech startup Sattvaponics has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad’s (IIMAs) Centre Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) and Sanjay Mariwala, Founder and Managing Director of OmniActive Health Technologies.

This investment marks the ninth investment by CIIE in the agritech sector, in line with its objective of supporting breakthrough innovations that tackle India’s most pressing problems.

Sattvaponics was founded by Kevin Parekh and Ashish Korde in 2017. It aims to change the nutraceutical industry by producing clean and high potency raw materials. Both the co-founders are nutraceutical professional, with Kevin completing Masters in Medical BioTechnology, while Korde has an MBA from Indian School of Business (ISB).

The high level of contamination of natural products due to pesticides, heavy metals, microbial, low bioactive content, and inconsistency in output due to heavy reliance on weather, soil and traditional means of production, threatening the medicinal food industry.

Although the major part of the natural product value chain consisting of ingredient manufacturers, formulators as well as consumer brands are organized and regulated, Sattvaponics is looking to address the agricultural practices, which remain largely unorganised.

The agritech startup is trying to completely optimise the agricultural life cycle from sowing to harvest, in order the revolutionalise the supply chain, to provide organic, nutritious, and healthy products.

Sattvaponics has one developed product that is already in commercial use and it is currently working on two new products, for which it already has consumer tie-ups, with more products in the pipeline.

Talking about the future plans, Kevin Parekh, Co-Founder of Sattvaponics, said, “We aim to cross 300-400 acres of cultivation in next three years, producing multiple high-value crops round the year, which will benefit the consumers, industry as well as the farmers.”

Other agritech startups strengthening the Indian agricultural ecosystem include Gramco Infratech, Gobasco, Our Food, Agrostar, Kisan Hub, Intello Labs, and Aibono, among many others. Earlier this month, Agritech startup Origo Commodities raised ₹80 crores from Triodos Investment Management, others.

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Advent acquires entire 40% stake held by Kedaara Capital in Manjushree Technopack

Udit Agarwal

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US-based private equity firm Advent International has acquired Bengaluru-based rigid plastics packaging solutions provider Manjushree Technopak.

The acquisition marks the exit of Mumbai-based PE firm Kedara Capital, selling its entire 40% stake to Advent for an undisclosed amount. As a part of the deal, Advent has also acquired a portion of the promoter Kedia family’s holdings to gain a majority stake in Manjushree Technopak.

Post acquisition, Vimal Kedia, Founder and Managing Director of Manjushree, along with other senior management members will remain with the company.

According to reports, the deal is expected to value the Bengaluru-based company at around ₹2,440 crores. Founded by Vimal Kedia in 1983, Manjushree Technopak provides rigid plastic solutions to a wide range of FMCG industry verticals including dairy, food products, agrochemicals, pharmaceutical, home care and personal care.

With presence across India and 15 other countries, serves large FMCG multinationals, generating more than ₹890 crores in revenues. Some of its notable clients include Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, P&G, Nestle, and Himalaya, among many others.

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Talking about the investment, Shweta Jalan, Managing Director and Head, India, Advent International, said, “The rigid plastic packaging market is expected to expand by 15% per year over the next five years, which is driven by much more growth in consumer-end markets, the continued shift from glass and paper to plastic packaging, and the introduction of new products. Manjushree Technopack is the market leader in an industry with strong growth tailwinds.”

Earlier in November 2016, Manjushree acquired Delhi-based packaging firm Varahi Ltd for an undisclosed amount. The deal has been made, which will enable the firm to increase the production capacity and customer base, and strengthen its foothold in North India.

The latest deal marks Advent International’s seventh investment in India. Other Advent investments in India include Innerwear brand Dixcy Textiles, ASK Group, a wealth and investment management business, QuEST, a global engineering solutions provider, Crompton Greaves, and CARE Hospitals.

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BookMyBai.com raises pre-series A Round from Japan-based fund

Udit Agarwal

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BookMyBai.com raises pre-series A Round from Japan-based fund

Mumbai-based online domestic help provider BookMyBai has raised an undisclosed amount of funds in pre-series A round from Japan-based social venture fund ARUN Seed. Other Japanese angel investors also participated in the funding round.

The funds raised will be used to expand market share in the cities it already has a presence, along with launching operations across Hyderabad and Delhi.

BookMyBai was founded by Anupam Sinhal and Vickash Chowdhury in 2015. It provides an online platform to enable homeowners to hire domestic help in a seamless manner. The platform offers domestic helpers across various categories including maid, babysitter, nanny, senior citizen care, and cook.

The platform does an extensive background check of helpers with identity check, document verification, in-person interview, along with training sessions, to provide a trustworthy domestic help to its users.

The marketplace offers more than 50,000 experienced domestic helpers across Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Kolkata.

“They as of now is working on thousands of marginalized women who are now earning enough money to support families. We see this as an opportunity to be able to support a startup which is not only sustainable but also has a large social impact amongst the rural households” said Satoko Kono, President, ARUN LLC.

The platform is also planning to launch a multi-lingual app for the workers through which the workers can look for a job in real-time, further enabling the workers and helping them find a suitable job based on their needs.

Earlier in 2015, BookMyBai raised ₹1 crore from Hyderabad-based investment platform 50K Ventures. Other players in the domestic help provider domain in India include Helper4U, MyDidi, GDH Workforce, and MyChores, among others.

Indian domestic help industry is highly unorganized and the foray of startups in the segment will not only ensure a platform for domestic helpers to find job readily but also provide easy access to domestic help for homeowners.

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