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Unitus’ portfolio firms impact 1.8 million low-income lives

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on June 17, 2018 Published on June 17, 2018

Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner, Unitus Ventures   -  N. Ramakrishnan

Generate revenues of ₹200 cr; create 7,000 active jobs

Unitus Ventures, a leading early-stage impact investing venture capital firm, has said that its portfolio companies directly impacted nearly 1.8 million low-income lives in 2017, more than double the 855,000 lives impacted in 2016.

According to Unitus’ recently-released 2017 annual impact report, its portfolio companies generated aggregate revenues of over ₹200 crore, up from the ₹125 crore they earned in 2016. They created over 7,000 active jobs in 2017, up from nearly 6,000 in the previous year. The portfolio companies also raised 4.1 times additional capital last year.

Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner, Unitus Ventures, said the entrepreneurs that Unitus supports are seeing an increasing demand for quality products and services that meet the needs of low-income families.

Meeting opportunities

Started in 2012, Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund) had reviewed over 5,000 companies by the end of 2017 and invested in 28. It invests in ventures in four broad sectors — education, healthcare, financial inclusion and financial technology, and business services. Its portfolio includes AddressHealth, a chain of child health clinics offering affordable preventive and primary health services to children below 12 years of age; iSTAR, which partners with colleges, businesses and the Government of India to provide career counselling, comprehensive job placement support and certificate courses across a range of disciplines; GoCoop, an online marketplace platform that connects handicraft and handloom artisans with national and international buyers; and, Milaap, an online crowd-funding platform for medical and personal needs.

The investments, said Ramamoorthy, are at the intersection where the country’s most pressing needs meet the greatest opportunities, not just in terms of capital but also innovation.

According to the impact report, through Unitus Ventures the portfolio companies connected with more than 75 advisers and over 40 strategic partners.

Entrepreneur quality

Ramamoorthy said the seed and early-stage investment activity is seeing good momentum in 2018, and is expected to peak in 2019. “There are a number of new funds in the market, particularly focussed on early-stage investing. There is plenty of capital waiting to be deployed. We are also seeing a change in entrepreneur quality with more experienced founding teams executing on well thought through ideas.”

Unitus Ventures recently announced the first close of ₹100 crore of its ₹300-crore second fund. Marquee investors in the fund include Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Bill Gates, and Hemendra Kothari. Unitus plans to invest between ₹5 crore and ₹15 crore in 25-30 start-ups in healthcare, education and inclusive fintech by 2021.

Published on June 17, 2018
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