Social venture capital investor Acumen Fund has appointed Meghna Rao as its new India Director. Rao, who has worked in companies like Microsoft and Goldman Sachs, will oversee the expansion of Acumen’s work in India across health, water, energy and agriculture. The firm plans to invest $50 million by 2015 and already has around a dozen portfolio companies in India. Acumen plans make another 15-20 investments in India in the coming years.
The appointment comes after Acumen India director Varun Sahni quit in July last year to start his own PE firm, Global Impact Investors (GII). The firm will launch its first fund, a $100-million India healthcare fund, this year. Acumen India, which has invested $21.8 million in India since 2001, has also now moved its base to Mumbai.
Rao was till recently the Managing Director of Pluspak Containers Pvt Ltd, a mid-sized packaging manufacturing company based in Maharashtra. Before that, she spent four years at Microsoft in India and the United States, where she focused on the adoption of Microsoft’s offerings among small businesses in India. Rao also worked in the mergers and acquisitions investment banking department at Goldman Sachs in New York and in venture capital at JH Whitney, Connecticut.
Rao holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Through an extensive search with support from our wide-spread community, including our partners, advisors and team within India and globally, Ms. Rao quickly became the top candidate for Acumen Fund India Director, not only because her personal values are so well-aligned with Acumen Fund’s, but also because of her attractive mix of operational and investing experience,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO, Acumen Fund.
Acumen’s investments include Kochi based ayurvedic chain Ayur Vaid Hopsitals, Hyderabad-based LifeSpring Hospitals, Mumbai-based ambulance start-up service ‘Dial 1298 For Ambulance’, and Drishtee, a rural communications company.