Bill Gates commit money to Unitus’ offshore fund; Rupee fund bags $4M more

Impact investor Unitus Seed Fund (USF) has announced that its India-focused offshore fund vehicle has received commitments from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, besides Concur Technologies’ CEO Steve Singh and Diego Piacentini, SVP (international consumer business) at Amazon.com Inc.

It also said it has now raised over $4 million from 16 high net income Indian investors in its Indian rupee fund adding that Unitus Seed Fund has more than $20 million to invest across healthcare, education, mobile commerce & value-added services, marketplaces & e-commerce, retail & distribution, agriculture, water and energy sectors.

Notably the firm had recently said it has secured an additional commitment of $7 million from new investors taking the total corpus to $20 million for its India-focused micro VC fund.

It is not clear if the latest announcement is part of a previous commitment or adds up to over $24 million in assets as of now.

We have contacted Unitus for further clarity on the funds and will update the news as we hear from the management.

Unitus invests in India through two investment funds: Unitus Seed Fund India, a Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)-registered venture capital fund, and Unitus Seed Fund, LP an offshore venture capital fund.

“Impact investing is a powerful model with the potential to build markets and drive change for the people who need it most,” said Gates.

Others who have committed capital to the offshore fund include Desh Deshpande (formerly Sycamore Networks), Romesh Wadhwani (Symphony TG), Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures), Steve Singh (Concur), Soma Somasegar (Microsoft), Dilip Wagle (McKinsey), Geeta Aiyer (Boston Common), Kamesh Aiyer, Pradeep Singh (Aditi), Bharat Shah (Microsoft), Anoop Gupta (Microsoft), Nagesh Pabbisetty (Microsoft), Prady Misra and Vikram Chalana (Winshuttle).

Additionally, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Crystal Springs Foundation, Pfizer Foundation, and Sorenson Impact Foundation have also invested.

New investors in USF's India rupee fund include Srikanth Iyer (former CEO of Pearson India), Sharvil Parikh (Phenix Consulting), Kishore Musale (Astarc Group), Jacob Ninan (Kottackal Business Solutions), Aroon Raman (Raman FibreScience).

“We are finding a large number of high-quality entrepreneurs in India who are creating disruptive businesses that can deliver superior financial returns to investors while improving the lives of millions of India’s low-income populations,” said Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, partner of USF.

They join founding investors in Unitus Seed Fund India including TV Mohandas Pai (Formerly Infosys CFO), Ranjan Pai (CEO of Manipal Education and Medical Group), Hemendra Kothari (DSP Blackrock), Pramod Saxena (CEO of Oxigen), Hema Hattangady (Conzerv/Schneider), Ananda Kallugadde (Neobytes), Rajeev Bakshi (METRO Cash & Carry), and Ravi Venkatesan (Infosys, Microsoft, Cummins), among others.

Founded in 2012, Bangalore-based USF is a venture seed fund supporting startups. USF has already announced 14 investments in India, the recent one being mGaadi, Blowhorn and Jiffstore.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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