Caspian Debt, a strategic digital lender in select areas of sustainable projects/firms, is on to its next phase of growth, expanding its business portfolio by lending and providing equity.
The 15-year-old Hyderabad-based impact investing fund, Caspian funds enterprises that are socially responsible and deliver both social and financial value. It is working closely with over 150 start-ups handholding them in their journey. The fund has helped these start-ups/firms through 327 loans at a total exposure of over ₹1,600 crore, covering both debt and equity.
Viswanatha Prasad, Founder and MD, Caspian Debt, said: “Over the past 15 years since we were founded, we have funded more than 150 start-ups and companies in the areas of financial inclusion, renewable energy, agri-technology and other areas addressing both their debt and equity requirements. We are now looking at the next phase of growth and expansion. Our portfolio companies have impacted 13 SDGs (sustainable development goals).”
“One of the difficulties start-ups face is that most of them are founded by first generation entrepreneurs who do not have big financial background. This makes the task of raising funds even more difficult as they do not have any collateral to raise debt. In order to plug this gap, we focus on these start-ups and offer them debt. This model has been working well for us and is beneficial for all,” he said.
“We have thus far raised about $250 million across several rounds, both debt and equity. The funding was from two Dutch banks ― Tridos Bank and Rabo Bank, FMO (International Development Bank), DFC (US International Development Finance Corporation), GreyGhost Ventures and SIDBI Venture. We are in advanced stages of funding about eight to 10 more companies during the current financial year. Typically, the funding we extend is in the range of ₹5-15 crore,” he said.
“The micro enterprises face the problem of mobilising debt and Caspian Debt bridges that gap to help these firms become professionally-managed financial institutions, solving critical problems across high-impact sectors like food and agriculture, clean energy, healthcare, education, and financial inclusion. These institutions are generally venture capital-backed, run by first generation entrepreneurs with new-age business models,” he told BusinessLine .
“About 58 per cent of Caspian Debt’s customers have taken over four loans and their biggest success has been on how most of the companies keep coming back to them for financial as well as advisory support. During Covid-19, the portfolio companies have seen strong growth,” he said.
Caspian Debt offers quick loans, revolving loans, term loans, and other working capital financing instruments, such as purchase order financing.