🎧 On this week’s podcast:ImpactAlpha’s David Bank joins host Monique Aiken to share takeaways from this week’s Agents of Impact Call on how investors are working to advance racial justice through the municipal bond market. Plus, the headlines.
The Week’s Call
Watch the video replay.
The Week’s Agent of Impact
Andrew Crosson, Invest Appalachia: Catalytic capital for community impact. Andrew Crosson was a decade deep community economic development work in central Appalachia when he got the call three years ago to lead Invest Appalachia, a nonprofit community impact fund, as founding CEO. He understood nonprofits and philanthropy and Appalachia’s challenges. “What I brought was a vision and an understanding of the ways this fund needed to function if it was going to benefit the region,” says Crosson. “I didn’t know a lot about finance.” Invest Appalachia is taking a catalytic and community-based approach to advance economic inclusion, health equity, climate resilience, and place-based impact in a region that has suffered decades of disinvestment and extraction. The fund closed $19 million of a targeted $40 million raise, and has built an additional $2.7 million catalytic capital pool for provide loan-guarantees, technical assistance and grants to crowd in investors.
The Week’s Dealflow
Deal spotlight: Protecting individuals and businesses from data and identity theft. Cell phones and digitization have helped billions of individuals, micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses improve their livelihoods. They’ve also introduced new risks, particularly around personal data and privacy. Omidyar Network’s India group this week backed PrivaSapien, a Bangalore-based maker of software that helps companies conduct privacy risk assessments, anonymize user data, flag concerns, and stay on top of regulatory requirements. “These solutions make it easier for organizations to adopt privacy-preserving techniques and eventually help the end-customer build greater trust in online data-sharing systems,” Omidyar Network India wrote in a post about the deal
The Week’s Talent
Noel Kinder, chief sustainability officer at Nike; Stacy Kauk, head of sustainability at Shopify; Emma Stewart, chief sustainability officer at Netflix; Vanessa Miler-Fels, vice president of climate at Schneider Electric; and Nate Gorence, chief of staff at Impossible Foods, will join Collaborative’s sustainability board.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures, which supports ImpactAlpha’s Investing in Health coverage. In partnership with J&J Impact Ventures, ImpactAlpha is exploring the …
Svasti Microfinance raises $4.8 million to extend financial services to low-income Indians
ImpactAlpha, February 13 – Nordic Microfinance Initiative, Serum Institute of India’s Adar Poonawalla and other investors have invested 340 million rupees ($4.8 million) in Mumbai-based microlender Svasti Microfinance.
The 10-year-old firm serves around 141,000 customers across 38 branches in four Indian states. Its total portfolio stands at 255 crores ($36 million). The firm expects to close the year with a portfolio of 350 crores ($49.3 million).
The new funding will provide exits for early investors, which include Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Bamboo Capital Partners, venture capitalist Sajid Fazalbhoy and angel investor Rajiv Dadlani. Svasti will also use the new capital to expand its loan portfolio to small businesses and introduce new products including consumer finance and insurance.
“Over the next couple of years, Svasti will be a diversified financial services provider to the millions of uncounted low and middle income households across India,” said Svasti co-founder Arunkumar Padmanabhan.
Nordic Microfinance Initiative has invested in other Indian microlenders, including Fusion Microfinance (which it exited in December), Satin Creditcare, Utkarsh Microfinance and RGVN (North East) Microfinance.
“We are very impressed with the platform that Svasti has laid so far, by building a high-quality portfolio over the years that has shown great resilience even through black swan events like demonetization as a result of its strong processes, backed up by smart technology and a strong team,” said Nordic Microfinance Initiative’s Arthur Sletteberg.
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