TPG Growth's global social-impact entity, The Rise Fund, and social-impact venture capital firm Elevar Equity have invested in content platform The Better India.
Social-impact content platform The Better India has raised Rs 25 crore ($3.5 million) as part of its Series A round of funding, two people familiar with the development told VCCircle. The bulk of the money has come from Elevar, they added.
The Better India, which is operated by Vikara Services Pvt. Ltd, will primarily use the funds to launch a new commerce platform that will help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), non-governmental organisations and self-helf groups which lack access to markets to sell their products, said Parekh.
It will also use the funds to expand its content operations, launch in more languages and ramp up its editorial and sales team, said Parekh. The company, which started with a four-member team in 2008 as a side project by Parekh, has 40 people now.
The startup is an online content platform dedicated to showcasing positive news and grassroots innovations with an aim to create a social impact. For instance, the platform played a crucial role in bringing electricity to a village in Maharashtra and providing over 1,000 children in Odisha villages with solar lamps, Parekh said.
He added, “Media is one of the ways in which you build communities and mobilise them towards social causes.” Parekh, who did his MBA from Indian School of Business, further said, “So the challenge (while fundraising) was to find a set of investors who are really aligned with our concepts of (social) impact and business.”
The Rise Fund was co-founded by William E McGlashan Jr., also known as Bill, the founder and managing partner of TPG Growth; musician-turned-activist-turned-investor Bono; and billionaire Jeff Skoll. TPG Capital’s billionaire founders David Bonderman and James (Jim) Coulter are also on the fund’s board. In April last year, Anand Mahindra joined the board.
In October 2017, The Rise Fund announced it had raised a $2 billion corpus.
The Rise Fund made its first investment in India in Hyderabad-headquartered Dodla Dairy Ltd, where it pumped in Rs 321 crore, to mark the largest private equity deal in the dairy sector in May 2017. In the same year, it made an investment in Mumbai-based school management services provider, Leadership Boulevard Pvt. Ltd.
Elevar co-invested in Leadership Boulevard.
In June last year, The Rise Fund also invested in Fourth Partner Energy, a renewable power services company that focuses on building and financing solar rooftop projects.
Bengaluru- headquartered and Seattle-headquartered Elevar Equity mainly invests in enterprises serving low-income communities.
Its investments in India include Varthana, a lender to schools serving low-income groups; Indifi, an online platform that connects small and medium businesses with lending institutions; SecureNow Insurance Broker; and Samunnati Financial Intermediation and Services.