Frontier and Growth Markets | August 21, 2023

Insaan reups in Indian cleantech and agtech distributor Essmart

Lucy Ngige
Guest Author

Lucy Ngige

ImpactAlpha, August 21 – Livelihood essentials like farming supplies and solar-powered lights are expensive and hard to secure in rural India. Essmart handles ordering and logistics for hundreds of affordable livelihood technologies for rural kiranas, or shops. The company supports 5,500 retailers and 100 farmer groups who reach more than 1.2 million people.

“By transforming last-mile distribution channels and leveraging rural retail shops as agents of change, access to high-impact livelihood products can be increased in rural India,” says Insaan Group, which reupped its investment in the company, following an initial investment in 2021. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

Essmart is also backed by philanthropic impact investor Elea, Partners Group, German development agency DEG, and Swiss Re Foundation. 

Catalytic capital

Insaan leverages philanthropic and other catalytic capital to make early-stage investments in organizations serving India’s and Africa’s vulnerable and low-income populations. It has backed nine companies, including Kenyan ethical fashion brand Soko, sustainable cassava processor Malakass, and GyanShala, which provides curricula for schoolchildren in India’s slums.