Indian fund advisor Aavishkaar recently completed the first close of the Aavishkaar Bharat Fund, with commitments of INR 6.2 billion (USD 95 million), of which it has INR 5.9 billion (USD 92 million) in hand. The fund will support businesses in India that further Aavishkaar’s mission to “enhance livelihoods and reduce vulnerabilities for the low-income population” in “a range of sectors, namely agriculture, dairy, education, energy, handicrafts, health, water and sanitation, technology for development, microfinance and financial inclusion.” Aavishkaar will seek to do this while generating a commercial rate of return.
The anchor investors of the Aavishkaar Bharat Fund are CDC Group, which is backed by the British government; India’s Munjal Family Office (Hero Corporation); the government-backed Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI); and the US-based NGO Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA). CDC invested USD 25 million in the fund; Hero invested INR 1 billion (USD 15 million); and SIDBI invested INR 750 million (USD 11.5 million). The amount placed by TIAA has not been disclosed.
Sunil Kant Munjal, the Chairman of Hero, said “most of India’s development has taken place in urban areas and in medium and large enterprises. So, it is heartening that a number of small and brave entrepreneurs are getting into projects aimed at the Indian heartland. It is our turn to step in, provide support, and help create prosperity at the bottom of the pyramid by supporting Aavishkaar Bharat Fund.”
Aavishkaar manages six funds valued at a total of INR 20 billion (USD 300 million). In addition to India, they are active in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Their 58 investments have resulted in 25 exits and reportedly have reached 70 million beneficiaries, most of whom are women.
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