indhuja Microcredit Pvt. Ltd, a rural-focussed microfinance institution, has raised $8.7 million (approximately Rs 66.01 crore at current exchange rates) in its Series B funding round.
The Noida-based company has raised this money from the Nordic Microfinance Initiative (NMI), the Norway-based impact investor focussed on Africa and Asia and from existing investor Carpediem Capital.
The funding comes a year after Carpediem Capital invested $4 million (Rs 27 crore) in Sindhuja Microcredit's Series A round of funding. That investment marked the mid-market private equity firm’s first bet on a micro-lender.
Sindhuja promoters Abhisheka Kumar and Malkit Didyala said in a statement that the company’s customers comprised mainly of self-employed women in rural regions.
“This funding will be used to scale our operations and provide much-needed financing to these women micro-entrepreneurs,” they said.
Vidura Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor for the transaction, while Vertices Partners was the legal counsel for Sindhuja Microcredit, and Antares Legal for the investors.
Separately, NMI managing director Arthur Sletteberg said the firm was confident of its investment in the micro-lender because of its promoters and the company’s ability to tap the potential of the larger microfinance segment.
Set up in 2018, Sindhuja says it has so far provided micro-loans to over 84,000 self-employed women across five states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. It currently operates 56 branches and says it has over Rs 170 crore in assets under management.
NMI primarily invests in microfinance institutions across Asia and Africa regions, with a focus on double bottom-line investments that include financial and social goals.
It operates on a public-private partnership model, with ownership including both Norwegian and Danish governmental funds for developing countries and large private-sector institutions. It currently manages over $250 million in funds.
The homegrown Carpediem Capital, meanwhile, was founded in 2014 by Abhishek Sharman, Arvind Nair and Hithendra Ramachandran. The co-founders are all former executives from India Equity Partners.
It marked the first close of its debut mid-market fund, Carpediem Capital Partners Fund I, at Rs 75 crore in 2015. It had raised the bulk of the target corpus by the middle of 2016.
Some of its other bets include online fashion jewellery brand Sukkhi Online Pvt. Ltd, retail chain stores Nysaa Retail Pvt. Ltd, medical devices company Collateral Medical, quick service restaurant Biryani Blues, sauce maker Adinath Agro Processed Foods Pvt. Ltd and repair services and refurbishment startup Gadgetwood.