Bengaluru-based Avanti Finance, focused on financial inclusion, has raised $26 million (Rs 195 crore) in debt and equity from Dutch impact investor Oikocredit, Nomura, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and others.
Technopreneur-cum-philanthropist Pratul Shroff and existing investor NRJN Trust, which is Nandan Nilekani’s investment company, also participated in the round.
Unitus Capital acted as the financial transaction advisor and Abhiraj Krishna Associates as the legal advisor to Avanti Finance on the deal.
Oikocredit is a global cooperative and social investor providing funding to the microfinance sector, fair trade organisations, cooperatives as well as small and medium enterprises.
In 2019, it led a Series A round for neo-bank Kaleidofin.
Previously, it invested in SEWA Grih Rin Ltd, an affordable housing finance company, and Origo Commodities India Pvt Ltd, a post-harvest supply-chain finance and logistics firm.
Other investments include those in Fusion Microfinance, packaged food products firm Y-Cook India, Aashiyaan Housing & Development Finance, RGVN (North East) Microfinance and ESAF Microfinance.
Founded in 2016 by corporate bigwigs Ratan Tata, Nandan Nilekani and economist Vijay Kelkar, Avanti Finance is a technology-enabled microfinance entity.
It has built a digital platform to facilitate a paperless and cashless approach to lending that will reduce costs and friction for unserved and underserved segments, especially in rural India.
More than 75% of Avanti Finance’s borrowers are women and currently the non-bank lender is building a partner ecosystem that includes social enterprises, financial institutions, business correspondents, and agri-tech innovators across the country.