Administrator | May 25, 2015

Villgro-Artha Initiative partner to expand funding, incubation

At least a half-dozen companies to receive matched equity funding
of up to USD $100,000

Villgro and Switzerland-based impact investor Rianta Capital Zurich, are entering into an exclusive partnership to provide much-needed equity funding and comprehensive post-funding incubation support for early-stage social enterprises in India.

Rianta Capital Zurich’s Artha Initiative has been supporting social enterprises in India for nearly 10 years through its impact investment platform and active portfolio. The Artha Initiative’s deeper focus on impact in India is especially significant as it is an initiative of Tom Singh, one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and investors, and founder of the New Look chain of women’s fashion stores.

For the past two years, Villgro has been providing mentoring and fundraising support to the finalists of the Artha Venture Challenge, a more recent ‘programmatic’ approach taken by Artha to allocating its “matched” equity funding commitments to a select pool of enterprise finalists who are supported for a period of approximately 8 months to date.

With this partnership, Villgro’s on-the-ground presence and intensive incubation model will support Artha in continuing to make earlier stage equity investments while providing substantial post investment support to help early-stage enterprises grow and scale.

The Artha Initiative will invest in at least half-a-dozen companies every year by providing matched funding of up to approximately US$100,000 / INR 60 lakh per enterprise with preference for agricultural and allied sectors. Artha and Villgro will also work together to engage other investors interested in impact investing, thus increasing the size of funds available for early-stage impact enterprises in India.

“This partnership creates an excellent synergy between both sides that will allow us to significantly expand and deepen the impact of our activities. We hope that this will set basis for many more collaborative efforts in the impact space. We admire the Artha team’s deep network and experience and their vision of attracting many more like-minded investors,” said Mukesh Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Villgro.

“We are delighted to expand and deepen the scope of our partnership with Villgro, as the quality of their team and the depth of their knowledge as an incubator and accelerator is such a strong complement to those of us working to cultivate collaboration amidst investor and financier networks.  This partnership is a launchpad not only for ourselves but for those we have co-invested with in managing the trajectory of our impact portfolios in the country,” said Audrey Selian, Director, Artha Initiative of Rianta Capital Zurich.