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International Finance Corporation is planning to invest up to $2 million in Chennai-based Vortex Engineering Pvt Ltd for a minority stake.

Founded by L. Kannan, currently the chief technology officer of Vortex, the company manufactures and installs low-cost ATMs in rural and semi-urban areas across India, to meet the rural segment banking demands. The firm also caters to other countries in South Asia, East Asia and Africa.

With the infusion of funds from IFC, the company will further grow its business by installing a large number of rural ATMs that will also help enhance basic banking services such as cash withdrawal and bill payment, IFC added.

Prior to this investment, Vortex has been funded and supported by venture capital firms such as Oasis Fund, Aavishkaar and VenturEast.

Incidentally, the ATMs developed by Vortex do not require air conditioning. They are powered by solar energy and each one consumes less than 72 units per month. This is just four per cent of the total energy required by a conventional ATM to function, thus saving 1,728 units per month. The vortex ATM costs Rs 2-Rs 3 lakh, compared to a conventional facility that costs more than Rs 5 lakh.

IFC has earlier invested more than $500 million in Indian companies across various segments. Some of its key initiatives this year include investments in Himadri Chemicals & Industries, Kalyani Gerdau Steels, Dunar Foods, PTC India Financial Services and Bandhan Financial Services.

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