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Impact investor Acumen to raise maiden India-focussed fund

06 April, 2017

Social venture capital investor Acumen will start working on raising its first India-focussed fund this fiscal, a financial daily reported on Thursday.

“We are going to become more and more focussed on India…so we will look at corporate partnerships and raising funds in India,” Ajit Mahadevan, India director at Acumen, told Mint.

Acumen, which started its India operations in 2006, has so far raised all of its capital in the US.

An email sent to an Acumen spokesperson did not elicit a response till the time of filing this article.

Acumen was founded in 2001 by Jacqueline Novogratz with seed capital from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation and individual philanthropists.

It has invested over $100 million globally, with India accounting for maximum investments, to the tune of $32 million, Mahadevan told the financial daily.

Acumen’s investments
Acumen mainly invests in companies providing products and services to the bottom-of-the-pyramid income groups. In India, it invests in agriculture, education, energy, water sanitation, housing and healthcare sectors.

In 2016, Acumen invested in three companies against seven in the previous year, according to VCCEdge, the data and research platform of News Corp VCCircle.

Two of those were new investments in Mumbai-based honey producer Under the Mango Tree Naturals and Organics Pvt. Ltd and vocational training services provider to low-income youth EduBridge Learning Pvt Ltd. The third was in existing portfolio company Bangalore-based LabourNet Services India Pvt. Ltd, which provides work- integrated job training to informal sector workers in trades like construction and manufacturing, among others.

Acumen’s other portfolio firms in India include pre-school chain Hippocampus Learning Centres and education startups Ignis Careers and Standard of Excellence in Education and Development.

Other social impact investors in the country are Omidyar Network, Aavishkaar Venture Management and Accion International.

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Impact investor Acumen to raise maiden India-focussed fund

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