Michael & Susan Dell Foundation earmarks additional $50M for India

Global philanthropic organisation Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) has earmarked an additional $50 million (about Rs 333 crore) for investments in India.

Quoting Debasish Mitter, country director - India, MSDF, The Economic Times reported that the fund will be utilised to make direct investments in early-stage startups in India over the next three years.

Mitter said the additional fund was allocated as the organisation observed that the venture capital space as a whole, and startups in areas of its interest especially, are struggling to raise funds. He said that MSDF will increase its offerings which currently include grants, equity financing, debt and non-convertible debt offerings.

The amount is an addition to its existing early stage impact investment fund India Educational Investment Fund (IEIF).

IEIF supports early-stage investment in education startups that supports urban, low-income families in India. In 2015, IEIF invested an undisclosed amount in two Indian education technology startups: Report Bee Edusys Pvt Ltd, a cloud-based deep learning platform and Guru-G Learning Labs (India) Pvt. Ltd, a gamified platform for teachers.

Started in 1999 by Michael Dell, MSDF invests in companies in the US, South Africa and India.

In November 2015, iSTAR Skill Development Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore-based vocational skills training provider, raised Rs 10 crore ($1.5 million) in Series A round of funding led by MSDF. Social enterprise incubator Villgro Innovations had also raised Rs 20 crore (over $3.2 million) from MSDF in 2015 for incubating and funding education startups. 

MSDF’s most recent investment in India was in Bangalore-based Oliveboard Comptech Pvt Ltd, which operates online test preparation platform Oliveboard.

MSDF had led a Rs 33.1 crore (around $5 million) round of funding in Delhi-based test prep startup Avanti Learning Centres in February this year.

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