Allahabad MFI Sonata Finance raises $6.35M from Creation Investments, others

Allahabad-based micro finance institution Sonata Finance Pvt Ltd has closed its Series D equity raising of Rs 35 crore or $6.35 million, led by Chicago-based Creation Investments. Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and economist Swaminathan Aiyar, two existing investors in the company, participated in this round as well. Promoter Anup Kumar Singh also invested in the MFI in this round.

Existing investors in Sonata include Caspian Advisors (through Bellwether and India Financial Inclusion Fund), Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Swaminathan Aiyar.

Unitus Capital was the exclusive financial advisor and arranger to Sonata and its shareholders for the transaction.

Sonata Finance is one of the few MFIs with an exclusive focus on the northern Indian states. It has operations in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Uttaranchal with a portfolio of around Rs 110 crore. The company claims to be profitable with 133,767 clients.

“Over the years, our product and service profile has diversified as we have started to understand our clients better and continuously provide value-added services to them,” said Sonata’s Singh.

“Despite the turmoil in the microfinance industry in India for the past couple of years, we have remained positive regarding the sector. This is our first MFI investment in India and we are excited to partner with Sonata for its growth. We are long-term partners who will provide them with all necessary support to achieve their mission,” said Ken Vander Weele, chief investment officer at Creation Investments.

Chicago-based Creation Investments is an investment fund manager with three funds under management. It is focused on private equity and control equity investments in MFIs, small-and-medium enterprise lenders, BOP financial services providers and other social ventures.

The firm made its first investment in India in 2010 by picking up stake in Eko India Financial Services Pvt Ltd, a business correspondent service and mobile banking technology provider.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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