May 07, 2016: Renowned to be World’s biggest philanthropic organization and an active impact investor in India, the Micheal and Susan Dell Foundation, has marked out $50 million towards investment in the country for the next three years.
Debasish Mitter, Director of MSDF India said, “The amount, which will be primarily used towards making direct investments in early-stage ventures, will be in addition to the impact investor’s existing vehicles, which includes its Delaware-registered, proprietary seed-stage fund —India Educational Investment Fund”.
The Foundation has also backed two early-stage funds in the country as a Limited Partners-Unitus Seed Fund and social business incubator Villgro-launched Menterra Venture Advisors.
Mitter also added, “We are not getting enough of the deals that we would like to do. We feel there is a tremendous fit between a venture philanthropist approach to seed funding, and what the space needs…. And what can be better than philanthropist organisations that aren’t shy to put its capital at stake in a venture philanthropic manner,”.
The foundation focuses on backing early-stage ventures operating in the education, skills and financial inclusion segments, is looking to increase its offerings to ventures, which currently include, grants, equity financing, debt and non-convertible debt offerings according to Mitter.
Impact of investing in India has remained largely stagnant in terms of deal activity over last two years with developments. 2015 saw transactions worth $104 million, spread over 57 deals, while 2014 saw investments worth $106 million, across 49 transactions as per data collated by Venture Intelligence. Till date 2016 has seen 14 transactions, amounting to $42 million.
MSDF has over 25 portfolio companies in India, making it one of the active investors. “The groundswell of entrepreneurship is so strong in India that we believe it will be short-sighted of us not to tap into it,” Mitter said.
Incepted by Dell founder and billionaire Michael Dell and his wife, Susan MSDF started operations in 1999 and set foot in India in 2006. The Foundation was also one of the early backers of microfinance institutions, Janalakshmi Financial Services and Ujjivan Financial Services, the latter, which made its public market debut last month, and which saw a massive response from investors.
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