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Ennovent to invest in 7-9 startups in India in 2 years 

Members of Ennovent Circle, the investor network of Ennovent, invested in Bangalore-based Drishti Eye Care and Hyderabad-based Sudiksha in the last six months.

Ennovent, which invests in businesses focussed on bottom-of-the-pyramid strata of the society in low income markets, will invest around €1.5 million (Rs 10.5 crore) in 7-9 startups in the next 2 years. The innovation accelerator normally invests up to €300,000 (around Rs 2.1 crore) in a single company, a senior official of the company told VCCircle.

“Our focus is on very early stage enterprises in which we will initially invest €50,000–€70,000 and help them pilot their projects. When we get the confidence that the business is financially viable, we can invest another €200,000–€300,000 to help them scale up,” Saurabh Lahoti, Director – Finances (India), Ennovent said.

The company, which was founded by Austria-based Peter Scheuch in 2009, is looking to support enterprises that have an impact on low income markets. At present the company is focussing on India with its presence across metro cities and smaller towns and villages.

The debut investment made by Ennovent was in Australia-based Barefoot Power, a social for profit enterprise which manufactures and distributes lighting products, solar phone charging and business development services for low-income populations that do not have reliable access to electricity.

Ennovent’s Impact Investing Holding (IIH) has a capital of €2 million (around Rs 14 crore) raised by the founder through Scheuch Family Foundation based in Austria.

Apart from investment from IHH, the company has an angel network, Ennovent Circle ,which consists of angel and institutional investors looking to invest in startups with a primary focus on social impact and sustainability.

“Ennovent Circle has 15 investors looking to invest in startups. It works independently of Ennovent’s own fund, IHH. Deals are shown to members of Ennovent Circle where they take a call on whether they wish to invest in a company or not,” said Digbijoy Shukla, Director of Ennovent Circle India.

According to Shukla, a number of investors are showing interest to join Ennovent Circle. This could lead to an equal number of investments coming from the network in the future. The network facilitated investment from its members in Bangalore-based Drishti Eye Care and Hyderabad-based Sudiksha in the last six months.

Apart from Ennovent, other funds looking to support enterprises to make a social impact in low income markets include Acumen Fund and Omidyar Network.

iMerit Technology Services, a Kolkata-based ITeS firm which claims to have created over 200 jobs that support more than 1,000 individuals from low-income families and marginalised sections of society, recently raised an undisclosed first round of funding from Omdiyar.

Omidyar invests in microfinance, education and similar sustainable businesses in India and Africa while Acumen Fund targets enterprises that offer critical services including water, health, housing and energy at affordable prices to bottom-of-the-pyramid population.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

Ennovent GmbH is a venture capital firm. It provides early-stage equity and debt capital to companies operating in south and south-east Asia. The firm seeks to invest in renewable energy, healthcare, distribution, education, clean air technology, water management, organic agriculture and sustainable forestry. It typically seeks to invest between $0.13 million and $1.38 million in its portfolio companies. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in Vienna, Austria.