Caspian Debt, the lending arm of India-focussed impact firm Caspian Impact Investment Adviser Pvt. Ltd, has backed over 225 social enterprises, startups and financial institutions with debt funding over the years, out of which 33% of the allocated funds were disbursed to women-led companies and impact businesses in FY22.
The debt provider said in a statement on Tuesday that since inception it has funded 43% of companies, which are either spearheaded by women or deliver a product or service that benefit women or employ majority of them.
As per a recent report by market intelligence platform Traxcn, while funding raised by women-led startups remained at a similar level in terms of value, at about $3.9 billion during 2021-22, these startups made up almost 11% of the total funds raised last year against 8% in the previous year.
Overall funding values declined nearly 34% year-on-year to $35.6 billion last year due to weakness in late-stage funding, according to the data platform.
“We have a higher acceptance rate and retention rate for women-led organisations. We invest in women not only because it is the right thing to do but also because it makes a business case for us,” said Avishek Gupta, managing director and chief executive officer, Caspian Debt.
Caspian Debt is a digital corporate lending company that offers custom debt solutions to professionally managed small or mid-market companies and start-ups founded by first-generation entrepreneurs.
The company was set up to fill the gap for non-dilutive funding available for first-generation entrepreneurs. Venture debt helps companies raise funds without diluting equity shareholding.
Last month, VCCircle had reported that Caspian’s equity arm is planning to mark the final close of its food and agriculture-focused fund in a few months. The fund aims to invest in pre-series A startups with ticket sizes ranging from Rs 1-5 crore, investing in about 12 startups.
“Caspian Debt’s own team is built in a way that 50% of the client facing team consists of women. 50% of Caspian Debt’s functional leads reporting to the CEO are women and women constitute more than 40% of the team.
While these investments in the eco-system and the team will take time to deliver results these need to be made now to stay true to company’s commitment to 2X challenge of making at least 30% investments in women led and women impact businesses,” Gupta added.