This week in impact investing news: India is again a hotbed of impact investment activity, with new debt and equity capital targeted at education and financial services for low-income populations. Israel appears to be fertile ground for social impact bonds, with the latest effort aimed at diabetes prevention. And the Canadian impact investment hub MaRS raises $3 million for its social enterprise Catalyst Fund.
Varthana gets debt capital for low-income education in India. The Calvert Foundation is lending Varthana $5 million to fund private education institutions focused on low-income students in India. The partnership includes the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which is guaranteeing up to $3.1 million of Calvert’s loan. The aim: help this segment of India’s education system expand its reach to hundreds of millions of students.
And Proparco gets financing for low-income financial services. The French development finance institution Proparco is investing 12.5 crore rupee ($1.9 million) in India-based financial inclusion firm IFMR Holdings, an incubator for early-stage companies focused on expanding financial products and services at for India’s poorest citizens. Proparco’s capital will be used for IFMR’s expansion and incubee support services. Last year, IFMR received 168 crore rupees from impact investors Accion, Leapfrog Investments and Lok Capital.
Canadian impact fund MaRS raises $3 million. Canada-based MaRS Catalyst Fund has reached a $3 million first close with new capital from foundations and high-net worth investors. The fund is looking to reach $5 million and will invest in seed-stage and Series A-level social enterprises in Canada. The fund launched 15 months ago with $1 million in seed capital from Virgin Unite Canada Foundation and Vancouver’s Mindset Social Innovation Foundation. MaRSIt has so far made no commitments but claims to have several companies in its pipeline.
UBS adopts Israeli social impact bond for diabetes prevention. The Swiss bank is looking for investors for the $5.5 million social impact bond to promote lifestyle changes for Israelis deemed at risk for the disease. Investors will be repaid by Israel’s National Insurance Institute and two public health organizations if efforts to reduce diabetes development succeed over a three-year period.
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Photo credit: Varthana