Social venture capital investor Acumen Fund, along with Michael & Susan Dell Foundation which focuses on improving lives of impoverished children through education and health, has invested an undisclosed amount in Bangalore-based LabourNet Services India Pvt Ltd.
LabourNet provides work- integrated job training to informal sector workers in trades like construction, manufacturing, leather and beauty among others.
“We are excited to partner with Acumen and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to help scale our work in training the largely overlooked informal labour force in India,” said V Gayathri, CEO of LabourNet.
The company has enabled livelihoods through training for over 50,000 people to date and plans to train over 125,000 workers annually in five years.
“We believe employers will over time adopt a uniform standard of certification for informal sector jobs in line with the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework. LabourNet has the potential to catalyse this market and create an ecosystem to enable measurable skill improvements and real income increases for informal labourers,” said Ankur Shah, Education Portfolio Head, Acumen.
This is Acumen’s third education investment in India after it invested in pre-school chain Hippocampus Learning Centres and vocational training company Edubridge Learning.
Acumen focuses its investments on companies that provide products or services to the bottom-of- the-pyramid (BoP) income groups. The fund, founded in 2001, invests in India, Pakistan, East Africa, West Africa and Latin America. In India, Acumen invests in agriculture, education, energy, water sanitation, housing and healthcare.
Since its inception, Acumen has invested more than $89 million in 82 companies across South Asia and Africa.
“In spite of the size of India’s unorganised workforce, very few organisations seek to help youth in the informal sector to improve the skills they need to earn a reliable income. LabourNet has a unique focus on such clients, and an innovative delivery model to reach them,” said Satyam Darmora, who oversees the Family Economic Stability portfolio at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
Michal & Susan Dell Foundation, which focuses on US, Asia and Africa, has committed more than $925 million globally to foster high-quality public education and childhood health, and improve the economic stability of families living in poverty.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)