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2014-09-04

New investors propel over $20 million fund in Unitus Seed Fund

While some of Unitus’ new investors are well known names in impact investing (e.g., Lemelson and Sorenson), most of them are first-time impact investors.

Unitus Seed Fund has secured an additional $7 million in commitments for a total of $20 million for its India-focused Micro VC fund. This significantly exceeds the fund’s minimum target size of $15 million, demonstrating interest in Unitus’ investment strategy and overall enthusiasm for impact investing opportunities in India. The funds will be invested in early-stage startups operating in India in sectors including healthcare, education, agriculture, skill development/livelihoods, technology and basic necessities. Unitus Seed Fund has already announced 13 investments in India.
 
 
New individual investors include Amazon executive Diego Piacentini, Microsoft executives Soma Somasegar, Bharat Shah, Anoop Gupta and Nagesh Pabbisetty, Social Venture Partners leaders Todd Vogel and Lance Fors, financial services executive Geeta Aiyer, McKinsey executive Dilip Wagle, Concur Technologies CEO Steve Singh, and multiple others.
 
 
“We are very pleased to have such a prominent group of leadership investors in our pioneering India-focused Micro VC fund,” said Dave Richards, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Unitus Seed Fund. “We believe that there is a great opportunity to invest in a new generation of entrepreneurs who are building disruptive new businesses serving the one billion under-served low-income market in India.”
 
 
While some of Unitus’ new investors are well known names in impact investing (e.g., Lemelson and Sorenson), most of them are first-time impact investors. “I have been looking for investment opportunities that align my entrepreneurial and business passion with driving sustainable and scaled social change,” said Steve Singh, CEO of Concur Technologies, Inc. “Via Unitus and other impact investments, I expect to receive a competitive rate of financial return and to see millions of lives improved over the coming years.”
 
 
“While we have been able to deliver regional impact through our Sandbox initiative based in South India, we realize that for the best entrepreneurs to go national, more capital and support is needed than we can provide,” said Desh Deshpande, Trustee of Deshpande Foundation. “We see our investment in Unitus Seed Fund as highly complementary to and syngeristic with our philanthropic goals to realize impact across India.”
 
 
Unitus is not accepting any new investors into its dollar-denominated seed fund. Its affiliated India-based rupee-denominated seed fund (SEBI-approved AIF structure) is accepting investments from Indian nationals and non-resident Indians (NRI/NRO) until December 2014.
 
 
These new investors have joined with previous global investors including Jeff Clark (Impact Investment Leaders), Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures), Hari Kumar (Formerly Goldman Sachs), and Bob Gay (Co-Founder of Bain Capital), Mike Murray (Former Microsoft & Apple executive), Pradeep Singh (Aditi) and other investment leaders.
 
 
Additionally, Unitus Seed Fund has raised commitments from India-based investors including T.V. Mohandas Pai (Formerly Infosys CFO), Dr. Ranjan Pai (CEO of Manipal Education and Medical Group), Hemendra Kothari (DSP Blackrock), Pramod Saxena (Oxigen), Hema Hattangady (Conzerv/Schneider), Ananda Kallugadde (Neobytes), Rajeev Bakshi (METRO Cash & Carry), Ravi Venkatesan (Infosys, Microsoft, Cummins) and Srikanth Iyer (Pearson, Edurite).
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