Bangalore-based MicroGraam Marketplace Pvt Ltd, which offers MicroGraam, a peer-to-peer investment platform that enables low-income borrowers to avail affordable loans from social investors, is in talks with global VC firms including Unitus Seed Fund and Accion International to raise Rs 2 crore (around $320,000) to expand its customer base and to enhance its platform, according to a report by Economic Times quoting its co-founder. MicroGaam will also appoint former Infosys director V Balakrishnan as chairman.
MicroGraam is one of the 15 startups selected for Artha Platform’s eight-month incubation as well as potential funding programme. It had earlier received Rs 2 crore from US-based angel investor P Balasubramanian who is also the founder and CEO of Theme Work Analytics.
MicroGraam was founded by Rangan Varadan, a PhD in finance and economics from Lehigh University and is a Chartered Accountant. Prior to setting up the company, he was the head (banking and capital markets technology research group) at Infosys.
The company enables rural individuals to obtain small loans for education, farming or business from urban professionals. It partners with local NGOs, who are engaged in providing livelihood programmes, including access to financial services to the micro-entrepreneurs. For certain types of businesses, entrepreneurs can obtain funds in the form of profit-sharing investments rather than loans.
V Balakrishnan, who quit Infosys a few days ago, launched Exfinity Fund with a corpus Rs 125 crore ($20.28 million), along with several other IT professionals including Girish Paranjpe (former Wipro co-CEO), Deepak Ghaisas (earlier CEO of i-flex Solutions), Mohandas Pai (former Infosys director and now with Manipal Global Education). Balakrishnan has personal investment in Unitus Seed Fund as well.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)