Social impact firm Unitus Ventures raises Rs 100 Cr towards the first close of second fund

30th Apr 2018
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Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Bill Gates, Hemendra Kothari and others invest again in India’s leading early-stage impact fund.

Bengaluru-based social impact investment firm Unitus Ventures (formerly known as Unitus Seed Fund) has raised Rs 100 crore towards the first close of its Rs 300-crore ($46 million) second fund. The round saw participation from investors like Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Bill Gates, investment banker Hemendra Kothari, Ajay Parekh, Pradeep Singh, Pramod Saxena, Padma Chandrasekaran and Ravi Venkatesan among others.

Unitus Ventures plans to invest a sum of Rs 5-15 crore in each of about 30 startups in healthcare, education and inclusive fintech.

In a statement released by the firm, Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft, said, “The opportunity to bring together private capital and market-based principles for social change is significant. I am optimistic about the growth prospects in India and am pleased to invest again with Unitus.”

Founded in September 2012 by Dave Richards, Will Poole and Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Unitus Ventures closed its first fund in 2013 at Rs 140 crore and made 23 investments in sectors including healthcare, education, technology and e-commerce.

Some of the firm’s investments include Hippocampus Learning Centres - currently with 300 semi-urban and rural kindergarten centres, BetterPlace - serving hundreds of marquee B2B customers by verifying and providing services to more than one million employees, and DriveU - on-demand driver service that is currently averaging 1,000 daily rides across all major metros.

The fund has begun returning capital to investors from secondary exits in Cuemath and two other acquisitions. Overall, Unitus Ventures’ 14 active investees have already directly impacted over 1.2 million low-income lives across 21 states in India, displaying a 102-percent growth in 2017, said the statement.

Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner, Unitus Ventures, said, “We have had a good run with our first fund and are now raising twice as much to invest in entrepreneurs and teams that are creatively tackling some of India’s unique challenges in healthcare, education and access to finance.”

Will Poole, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Unitus Ventures, said, “With less than 10 percent of early-stage VC funding going to healthcare and education, there is a scarcity of capital for good companies in these sectors. We are one of the very few investors who have dedicated a majority of their funds towards these sectors that are so critical for the growth and health of India".

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