Seed-stage impact investor Unitus Seed Fund has secured an additional commitment of $7 million from new investors taking the total corpus to $20 million for its India-focused micro VC fund, as per a statement.
With this fundraise, the fund’s minimum target size of $15 million has been increased, demonstrating an overall enthusiasm for impact investing opportunities in India.
The funds will be invested in startups operating in sectors including healthcare, education, agriculture, skill development/livelihoods, technology and basic necessities. Unitus Seed Fund has already announced 13 investments in the country.
New institutional investors include Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Lemelson Foundation, Deshpande Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation. New individual investors include Amazon executive Diego Piacentini; Microsoft executives Soma Somasegar, Bharat Shah, Anoop Gupta and Nagesh Pabbisetty; Social Venture Partners leaders Todd Vogel and Lance Fors; financial services executive Geeta Aiyer; McKinsey executive Dilip Wagle and Concur Technologies’ CEO Steve Singh.
“We believe that there is a great opportunity to invest in a new generation of entrepreneurs who are building disruptive new businesses serving the one billion under-served low-income market in India,” said Dave Richards, co-founder and managing partner of Unitus Seed Fund.
Unitus is not accepting any new investors into its dollar-denominated seed fund. However, its affiliated India-based rupee-denominated seed fund is accepting investments from Indian nationals and non-resident Indians until December.
Last year, TV Mohandas Pai, former Infosys board member, and Ranjan Pai, CEO of Manipal Education and Medical Group, committed $1 million each to the Unitus fund. Other Indian investors include DSP Blackrock chairman Hemendra Kothari and former Microsoft India chairman Ravi Venkatesan.
Unitus has invested in 13 startups including Addresshealth, a paediatric healthcare clinic, mGaadi, a mobile solution for booking autorickshaws, Caravan Craft, which sells contemporary merchandise from traditional Indian artisans, and Hippocampus Learning Centres, which provide pre-school and after school tutoring programs for children.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)