Lesson three: Talent is critical for social enterprises

Most social ventures begin with minimal financial resources and do not always attract the best talent. To be successful, organizations need to invest in hiring the right team from the start. In our work in the education sector, test preparation startup Avanti used this approach to deliver coaching for competitive exams to low-income students.

Lesson two: Execution comes first for India’s social enterprises

Michael Dell once said, “Ideas are a commodity. Execution of them is not.” This is especially relevant for social enterprises that sell affordable products and services at small margins to low-income users. Scale, sustainability and replicability become crucial for the long-term success of such companies.

India Educational Investment Fund (IEIF) Makes New Investments in ChipperSage and Select Jobs

New Delhi, January 23, 2017 – The India Educational Investment Fund (IEIF), an early stage impact investment fund focused on the education sector, announced two new investments in ‘ChipperSage’ and ‘Select Jobs.’ ChipperSage offers high impact English proficiency solutions aimed at significantly transforming English comprehension and communication for school students. Select Jobs is a job … Continued

SkillVeri: How a gaming tool is skilling India

The government’s “Make in India” initiative aims to transform India into a global manufacturing hub rivaling centers of excellence like China and Germany. Achieving this would mean that manufacturing would contribute to at least 25 percent of India’s GDP. However, experts predict a shortfall of 2.2 million trained welders by 2020. This mismatch between demand and supply could bring the entire program to a halt.

Startup that Pioneered India’s First Welding Simulator Receives INR 8 Crores from Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Ankur Capital

Skillveri Pvt. Ltd. has raised an investment of INR 8 crores from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, together with Ankur Capital. Pioneers behind the first welding simulator made in India, Skillveri will leverage this investment to enable training of 500,000 youth for well-paying aspirational manufacturing jobs over the next five years. It also expects … Continued

Lesson one: Sector knowledge is crucial in impact investing

Our earliest lesson was that sector knowledge is critical for social entrepreneurship. In 2006, the foundation made its first impact investment in Ujjivan Financial Services, a microfinance company for the urban poor. At that time, urban microfinance in India was considered a risky venture.

Pioneering a new path forward: 10 lessons learned in impact investing

Since the foundation started its work in India in 2006, we’ve had one overarching goal: To provide urban youth and families with the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty. For us, in impact investing, this has often meant taking the road less travelled to find the solutions that work. These solutions often come from models that other investors deem “too risky,” but sometimes these are the models that have the greatest potential.

Can impact investors make money while making a difference?

I recently moderated an impact investing panel called, “Market Return vs Muted Return: To each his own.” at the India Impact Investment Conclave in Delhi. While preparing for the event, my first thought was that the impact investing industry has been having the same debate for the last 10 years, with no agreement.

Village Capital and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Conclude a Mentoring Program for College and Career Readiness Startups

NEW DELHI – November 03, 2016 — Village Capital, a leading global venture development organization, has concluded its three-month venture development program—Education India 2016—aimed at making early-stage Indian education startups more investment ready. Funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Education India 2016 program identified 10 innovative, high-quality, early-stage enterprises that are helping … Continued

Invigorating education with informed, early-stage investing

We implore early-stage investors to lead the way to a new era of impact investing—one that sees an uptick in the calculated risks investors will take on entities with the potential to improve India’s education system.
For our own investments, we have stringent requirements for quality, low-income client focus, financial viability and scalability. In 2012, we began evaluating for-profit investment opportunities using the same yardstick as for the non-profit investments we’d made in the education sector since 2006.