[TC-I Call to Action]: Ennovent looking to fill Investment Manager position

Here is an opportunity for an experienced finance professional.

Job Profile

Title

Investment Manager

Job Objective

To develop and manage the investment portfolio of ennovent in India and Asia

Start Date

As soon as possible

Location

India – frequent travel in India and Asia

Reporting Relationship

Position reports to Managing Director

More information can be found here and general information on Ennovent can be found here.

[TC-I Call to Action]: New Ventures India Business Proposals

Anil G of  New Ventures India informs us that New Ventures is inviting clean tech companies to submit their business proposals for a chance to receive mentorship, assistance, and connections with capital and market opportunities to scale up.  Click here for further details about the call for proposals, including eligibility requirements and contact information.  Proposals are due by April 30, 2009.  This is a great opportunity for clean tech and clean energy SMEs in India.

About New Ventures India:

New Ventures India works for sustainable entrepreneurship and is specially designed to meet the needs of Indian entrepreneurs and help them overcome common business challenges to deliver environmental and social benefits in addition to economic development and growth opportunity.

India’s First Social Enterprise and Investment Forum: Sankalp 2009

Shital had written in last November about Sankalp 2009, a business plan competiton for Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) organized by India Development Gateway, in partnership with Rural Innovations Network (RIN) and National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

Turns out the business plan competition has now developed into India’s first ever Social Enterprise and Investment Forum, with additional support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Continue reading

(IFMR) Trust Me

Editor’s note: In addition to being informative, this post also outlines what IFMR Trust is looking for in potential hires. If you would like to see that immediately, go after the jump.

Before Thanksgiving break I had the pleasure of sitting down at an informal roundtable with Dave Wallack, Senior Vice President of People to learn more about IFMR Trust‘s ambitious plans to provide financial inclusion to every person in India. Chaired by Dr Nachiket Mor, who is also the President of the ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth, the Trust’s mission is to “ensure that every individual and every enterprise has complete access to financial services.” In order to accomplish this goal, the Trust is looking at a rather unconventional business model that where the non-profit parent oversees multiple self-sufficient for-profit silos in various financial sectors.

The three ventures that the Trust has currently launched are the IFMR Trust Holding Company (ITHC), the IFMR Trust Advisory Services (ITAS) and the IFMR Trust Guarantee Company (ITGC). Each venture has a specific and distinct goal. The ITHC aims to build a network of Kshetriya Gramin Financial Services (KGFS) that will serve as low-cost, paperless branches providing access to financial products. According to Wallack, the goal is to have one of these branches for every 10,000 people or 2,000 households. Wallack emphasized the feasibility of such scale is due to the incredibly low-cost structure of each branch. By being completely paperless, transaction costs is on the scale of 20-30 rupees as opposed to $20 dollars. Wallack self-titled the initiative as the Starbucks of microfinance, as they are able to provide loans at only 11.5%, far less than the typical 20-30% charged by traditional MFIs.

The ITAS’ charge recognizes that microfinance is merely a stopgap or defensive measure and that more aggressive financial services will be needed to enable true inclusion. In order to do this, the ITAS has structured as essential a private equity firm and with the aim of raising $150 US. Utilizing this capital, ITAS will look at 14 different supply chains that reach the rural population and figure out ways of improving and fixing them through investments in operating companies along the product cycle. These investment strategies, organized as Network Enterprises, will operate in a for-profit fashion with the belief that the quest for profits will seek out the most efficient and effective ways to address the supply chain breakdowns.

One example is the current gap that exists between urban labor demand and rural supply. After some preliminary research, ITAS discovered that the major hurdle was that rurual workers could not afford to live anywhere in the city for their first 2 weeks, because they had yet to been paid. In order to resolve this ITAS partnered with a local temporary housing and staffing company in order to provide that stopgap housing for these workers.

Finally, the ITGC will focus on providing much needed debt capital to small and medium size enterprises throughout India to truly enable them to grow. Here, the organization is partnering with many existing financial providers to roll out their offerings more aggressively.

Continue reading

Kubera-Edelweiss Social Innovation Honours

We all know the power of prizes to motivate innovation and so this new award will hopefully do just that:

The financial services firm, Edelweiss Capital Ltd is partnering Kubera Partners, a private equity firm based in USA to launch the Kubera-Edelweiss Social Innovation Honoursthree awards totaling US$ 60,000 to felicitate outstanding innovations that positively impact the status of the girl child, through the delivery of services in three areas: education, health and nutrition, and future employability of the girl child. EdelGive Foundation, the not for profit subsidiary of Edelweiss Capital is managing the entire process of these awards.

Deadline for applications is December 1st of this year, so please prepare your applications ASAP.

For further information on the award categories, the broad selection criteria, rules and regulations and the application form, please visit – Kubera-Edelweiss Social Innovation Honours  or contact us at +91 22 23675623/4 and edelgive@edelcap.com

A dash of (A)cumen: The recipe behind Acumen Fund’s investment strategy

Yesterday, Acumen Fund‘s Chief Investment Officer Brian Trelstad came to NYU to conduct a live case study on a real company that Acumen Fund invested in, in an effort to educate MBA and other students on the investing strategy and process of this innovative social venture fund. I actually wrote about Acumen’s approach sometime back.

The company under scope was Ziqitza Healthcare Limited (better known at Dial 1298), a for-profit ambulance service located currently in Mumbai aiming to provide ambulance assistance for all in 15 minutes. Using a willingness to pay revenue model, the company subsidies services for the poorest through fees generated from providing care to those that can afford to pay.

Before I jump into the heart of the case study, here is a video that we were shown at the outset of the lunch. In addition to providing ambulance services, the company is now also figuring out innovative ways to power their vehicles with renewables. You can read the rest of the review after the jump.

Continue reading

TC-I Fundwatch: Madura Micro Finance to get $4.52 million from Unitus

Madura Micro Finance has received an investment by Unitus Equity Fund to ramp up their offerings to women self help groups (SHGs) in rural India.

Madura Micro Finance will use UEF’s funding to increase its management bandwidth and institutional capacity as well as continue to expand its customer base, which is comprised primarily of women.  The firm’s central financing product is a group loan to self help groups (SHGs) which are formed and trained through its partner organization, Microcredit Foundation of India. These SHGs undergo training in good financial practice and business skills before being considered eligible for MMFLs loans. Madura does not post to the MIX database. It reported USD 35 million in disbursements in 2007, and an SHG member base of 500,000.

[Source: Microcapital.org]

TC-I Fundwatch: Omidyar Network and Unitus invest Rs. 60 Crore in Comat Technologies

The market for double bottom-line investments in India is becoming hotter and hotter. Interestingly, its not just the microfinance institutions who are attracting the capital. We reported earlier in TC-I about MokshaYug Access, securing $2 million in funding from Unitus and the ISB based SME fund set-up by Google.org in partnership with Omidyar Network and Soros Economic Development Fund. 

This time it is Comat Techonologies, a Bangalore based social enterprise dedicated to providing easy access to essential information and transformational services to Rural India. Comat just secured Rs. 60 crore in funding from Omidyar Network and Unitus Equity Fund (UEF)

Continue reading

To Profit or Not to Profit

According to Mr Chu, “to roll back poverty rather than to merely alleviate it”, any solution needs to be able to reach massive numbers, deliver permanent results that can help many generations, provide continuous effort so it gets better and better at what it does, and provide continuous efficiency so it also becomes cheaper and cheaper. Mr Chu believes the only state that can offer all these four requirements is business.

From a review of a debate between the father of microfinance Mohammad Yunus and Michael Chu, former President and CEO of ACCION. Given that today’s Blog Action Day is focused on poverty, it seemed fitting to highlight this issue. 

Can we truly reach microfinance’s potential without the efficiency and scalability gains that business and for-profit models provide? Is profiting off of the poor unethical, and as Yunus argues, should we only be looking to sustain the model at the lowest possible point of surplus?

You can read the rest of the recount by Amy Rennison here at Microcapital.org.

Just in case you didn’t believe me

The global credit crunch has led to a significant drop in fund flow to the microfinance sector. Banks, which are required to provide 32-40 percent of their loans to the priority sector (which includes rural credit), are the largest providers of funds to MFIs.

They lend to microfinanciers, who then on lend to the poor at a higher rate. But with banks’ lending rates rising more than 200 basis points over the last quarter, microfinanciers are finding it tough to get enough funds to sustain business.

This is an excerpt from an article on Microcapital.org.

News in Microfinance

Here are two stories from Microcapital.org:

And then there were a few

So, it looks as though many smaller MFIs will now become absorbed by the larger players as the microfinance sector is expected to enter into period of substantial consolidation within India. According to Microcapital.org,

The sector, which has lent close to USD 221.9 Million (Rs 10,000 crore), is moving aggressively to expand its operations. With tighter capital adequacy norms expected to come into place in 2009 and 2010, a whole lot of smaller Microfinance Institutions (MFI), are expected to be acquired by larger players.

These larger funds are getting help from outside investors for potential targets to accelerate their growth trajectory and hasten potential exits.

Venture capital funds which specialise investing in MFIs are aggressively scouting for targets in India and according to industry information around USD 100 million is expected to be invested during 2008 into MFIs. MFIs like Grameen Koota which during April raised close to USD 2.2 Million (Rs 10 crore) is looking at raising a further USD 4.4 Million (Rs 20 crore) in the near future.

Such flux is likely to create criticisms as massive consolidation may lead to MFIs moving further upstream and choosing to forgo their original client bases in the BoP for higher income customers. This is definitely a trend that needs to be watched closely.

What $68 Billion looks like

Here is a great diagram putting the funds of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s endowment in perspective.

Source: Technology, Health & Development

Measuring Impact — The billion person question

A post on Nextbilliion.net today announced that the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) just launched a new framework to measure social impact of a business or organization. While the name of the framework, Measuring Impact Framework, is not the catchiest in name, it is attempting to do something that has been a challenge so far within the field of social entrepreneurship. We have written many posts to this issue in the past, you can check them out here.

The goal of developing an effective measurement system is a topic of much research and debate and numerous models have come prior to this one an a number more are likely to follow. A post on Socialedge from last year listed the following:

•    Balanced Scorecard Methodology (New Profit Inc.)
•    The Acumen-Mckinsey Scorecard (Acumen Fund)
•    Social Return Assessment Scorecard (Pacific Community Ventures)
•    AtKisson Compass Assessment for Investors (AtKisson)
•    Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (World Bank)
•    OASIS: Ongoing Assessment of Social Impacts (REDF)

Makes you wonder whether or not we need a metric to measure the effectiveness of these metrics. But in all seriousness, quantification of social impact is a complex and at times impossible task, effectively guaranteeing that none of these indicators on their own will ever fully get the picture. The most important thing, however, is to recognize that while each may come from a slightly different angle and methodology, the actual organizations and ventures that sift to the top should be relatively the same. Those in the middle are likely to differ as subtle differences in how each index weights various factors may cause significant movement among organizations that are scored closely together. However, like many rankings and indexes, those organizations that are consistently on the top of multiple metrics are there for significant reasons that should be relatively immune to methodological differences.

It is then when we can either know that the methods are being accurate (or all suffer from an identical fundamental flaw) and then when they in complement will have the greatest utility.

Intellecap’s Indian Development Gateway partners with Srijan

In what appears to be a natural marriage, Intellecap (featured on TC-I numerous times here) has created a partnership between two of its programs. Intellecap, whose goal is to leverage innovative business solutions for low-income markets, held last week the third annual Srijan (Sanskrit for creativity) Business Plan Competition. Recognizing that many of these ventures will need funding to scale, Intellecap has deftly provided the resources of its Indian Development Gateway (IDG) — a portal for the “dissemination of an entrepreneur’s business plan, which the IDG rates based on the plan’s strengths and weaknesses. Investor’s also have accounts on the portal, through which they can view the entrepreneur’s business proposals and initiate investment.” (Microcapital.org)

Intellecap is an organization that is actively looking for unique and effective approaches to addressing the missing middle and creating means for entrepreneurs to achieve the necessary funding to expand their services. Keyzom Ngodup, who works at the organization, has blogged for us in the past on various ventures that Intellecap has taken and the risks and rewards that have resulted.

The Srijan B-plan competition along with the IDG are two of the many great things that this organization has continued to do. Go here to check out webcasts of the event last week, and if you are interested in learning more about the entrepreneurs, click here to go to the IDG website.