Exclusive: Unitus raises Asian impact investment VC fund

Unitus Impact, an early-stage impact investor that focuses on firms in India besides a few countries in Southeast Asia, has completed fundraising for its maiden Livelihood Impact Fund, a top company executive told

For more details on the fund and its investors or Limited Partners (LPs in industry parlance) click here.

"We look forward to making investments in innovative, high-growth companies in India and Southeast Asia that create lasting social change and generate risk-commensurate returns for our investors. Our goal at Unitus Impact is to demonstrate the commercial viability of investing into companies focused on livelihoods," said Unitus Impact CEO Geoff Woolley.

The fund plans to make initial equity investments of $500,000 to $2 million (Rs 3.4-13.6 crore) in 15-20 early stage companies, and strategically provide follow-on equity financing to portfolio companies as they grow.

A part of Unitus Group, a financial services group that has been operating in India and other emerging markets since 2000, its sister investment unit Unitus Seed Fund had last year completed fundraising with $23 million in its kitty. This included $6 million for its domestic investment vehicle with the rest coming from its offshore investment fund.

Unlike the new livelihood fund, this unit makes smaller bets primarily in India.

Unitus Livelihood Impact Fund has backed around nine firms including at least three in India: Kinara Capital, MokshaYug Access and Shotang.

Kinara Capital provides small ticket loans of $2,000 to $20,000 to small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in India for working capital, capital assets and startup needs. It focuses on industries such as agri-products, handicraft production, water, food and energy.

Shotang runs a B2B on-cloud marketplace that enables retailers, distributors and manufacturers to discover, transact and manage businesses online via an app-based platform.

MokshaYug is an agri supply chain firm in Karnataka.

It has also backed Micro Benefits China, which provides Chinese factory workers with access to affordable credit, life insurance policies, merchant discounts, etc; Indonesian seller of mobile minutes and provider of low-income consumer surveys in rural areas, Ruma; MobiVi, a provider of proprietary e-commerce and electronic transaction processing platform in Vietnam and another firm out of the same country iCare Benefits, that is into employees benefits. iCare is also present in India.

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