Venture debt firm IntelleGrow raises $20 mn from Omidyar, others

Venture debt lender Jain Sons Finlease Ltd, which operates under the brand IntelleGrow, on Tuesday said it has raised Rs 134 crore ($20.14 million) from its existing investor Omidyar Network and a clutch of new investors.

The new investors are Triodos Investment Management, the investment arm of European lender Triodos Bank, and Developing World Markets (DWM), a US-based fund manager, besides community development financial institution Calvert Foundation and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution.

"The current fundraise would allow us to provide substantial funds to startup ecosystem in India,” said Vineet Rai, chairman of IntelleGrow.

VCCircle had first reported about IntelleGrow's fresh equity fundraising on Monday. Neither the company nor the investors had commented on the story.

The funds were raised through a mix of equity and long-term debt, IntelleGrow said in a statement on Tuesday. Of the total, Rs 80 crore was invested as equity while the remaining was debt brought in OPIC and Calvert. Of the equity portion, Omidyar and Triodos put in about Rs 33 crore each and DWM invested the remaining. 

In 2014, IntelleGrow had raised Rs 28 crore ($4.5 million then) from Omidyar Network with participation of existing investor Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF), a philanthropic organisation launched by Dell founder, which had invested Rs 10 crore ($1.8 million then) in the NBFC in 2013.

IntelleGrow is a registered NBFC, founded in 2012 by Intellecap Capital Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd, with support from Shell Foundation. Its priority sectors for investment are modern energy, agriculture supply chain, healthcare, water and sanitation, education and financial inclusion.

It has disbursed Rs 350 crore to about 100 enterprises across various emerging themes including technology startup SEDEMAC and ATM management company Electronic Payment System, the statement said.

While the venture debt asset class is relatively new in India, it is a significant component of the venture capital ecosystem in the US as well as Europe.

A major venture debt player in India is InnoVen Capital India, which is backed by Singapore government's investment arm Temasek Holdings.

Temasek acquired debt financing company SVB India Finance from Silicon Valley Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SVB Financial Group and renamed it last year. The $48-million deal, announced in January 2015, formally marked Temasek’s entry into venture debt business.

In another significant activity in the space, Delhi-based venture debt firm Trifecta Capital Advisors LLP made first close of its maiden fund at around Rs 200 crore (approximately $30 million) last year and is chasing to raise Rs 500 crore ($75 million).

Omidyar Network, which was founded in 2004, has $879 million assets under management. It provides early stage and debt capital to companies operating in Asia, Africa, the US, Latin America and Europe. It invests in consumer internet and mobile, education, financial inclusion, governance and citizen engagement, and property rights.

DWM is an asset manager and investment bank dedicated to making socially positive investments to promote sustainable economic development. It provides both debt and equity investments in MFIs and other socially motivated organisations. In India, it has made investments in Smile Microfinance Ltd, a Chennai-based MFI.

Triodos Investment Management, based in Netherlands, seeks to invest in the financial service sector with a focus on microfinance institutions and banks in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In India, its investments include in Grameen Financial Services Pvt Ltd, popularly known as Grameen Koota.

OPIC has previously backed Indian companies as well as private equity and venture capital funds investing in India.

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