What is impact investment and how can it help India?
In 2012, Will Poole launched Unitus Ventures to invest in startups that create opportunities for low-income populations.
As the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Unitus Ventures (for the Indian market) and Capri Ventures (for Latin America, Africa, and Asia) — both funds committed to investing in startups that create opportunity for low-income populations — he’s keen on “finding scalable solutions to problems that have not been addressed yet”.
“If you want to build scale, there's nowhere better to go than India. And if you solve problems with the Indian perspective of ‘low-cost high-value’, you're going to have a real edge over the other guys who are starting off at probably 10X your cost base, and therefore, pricing their products accordingly.”
Infographic: YS Design
Some of its active investments include BetterPlace, 5C Network, Awign, Milaap, BlowHorn, AddressHealth, Cuemath, DriveU, Eduvanz, GigForce, and Masai School, among others.
Despite the enormous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 turned out to be a fairly good year for the Bengaluru-based VC fund. “The pandemic-ridden year taught us that only companies with decisive leaders survive,” Will noted.
According to Unitus’ 2020 Annual Impact Report, its portfolio companies impacted 12.2 million bottom-of-the-pyramid lives during the year, an increase of 34 percent from 8.9 million in 2019. Their cumulative revenue went up by 26 percent, reaching $141 million.
While choosing a career, many students and professionals in India tend to go along with the crowd. This is what Leverage Edu aims to break and help students in Tier-II, III cities and beyond to choose the best possible college and talk to multiple universities.
Akshay Chaturvedi, Founder and CEO, Leverage Edu talks about his journey from raising funding of Rs 47 crore to accelerating revenue by 4x post the pandemic lockdowns.
Editor’s Pick: The story of GR Infraprojects
In the 1960s, Gumani Ram Agarwal lived in the arid regions of Churu district in Rajasthan, which had limited road connectivity. Seeing the difficulty he and others had to face while commuting to neighbouring villages and towns, he decided to take matters into his own hands and started a business to build roads.
Today, the integrated road engineering, procurement and construction business has grown into a Rs 6,028 crore turnover company, and is also foraying into railway projects. Read more.
Vinod Kumar Agarwal, MD and Promoter, GR Infra
According to IBEF, there are more than 100 million apartment and residential units in India, each requiring physical and ecommerce stores to cater to them.
Enter Bengaluru-based startup DusMinute which is a hyperlocal-managed living platform that sets up supermarkets, pharmacies, café, etc., in gated communities. The startup's resident-exclusive app enables residents to order groceries and gets them delivered as well. Read more.
News & Updates
- Dunzo will be launching a pilot programme to use drones to deliver medicines in Telangana. The drone delivery system will focus on an end-to-end ecosystem for drone-based logistic transportation, and utilise the existing logistics network of the state.
- WhatsApp said its recent policy update does not change the privacy of people's personal messages, and it has already written to the government seeking to assure them that the privacy of users remains its highest priority.
- Paytm has received in-principle approval from the company's board to raise around Rs 22,000 crore through an IPO during the October-December quarter this year, according to an industry source. The fintech company is looking at an enterprise value of over Rs 2 lakh crore for the IPO.
- India features among the top markets for Clubhouse within weeks of the launch of the voice-based social networking app in the country. The platform, which launched its Android version, said it will work towards following the recently announced social media rules.
Before you go, stay inspired with…
Will Poole, Unitus Ventures
“The key thing is finding entrepreneurs who focus on the mass markets, which is what I'd call inclusive development. In India, impact is opportunity.”