Dealflow | May 29, 2019

TIAA’s Nuveen joins impact investors in backing farmer financing company Samunnati

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, May 29 – For years impact investors have supported Chennai-based Samunnati’s mission to provide financial and agricultural support services to India’s underserved smallholder farmers. The company’s growth has now coaxed Nuveen, the investment management arm of TIAA, to invest. Nuveen led Samunnati’s 3.9 billion-rupee ($55.6 million) Series D funding round.

Nearly 60% of Indians depends on agriculture to earn a living, so as far as impact potential goes, the sector offers a bigger opportunity to reach people than most. Samunnati launched in 2014 to provide farmers access to finance as well as agricultural products and services to improve their businesses and incomes. Impact investor Elevar Equity was one of the first to take a stake in the company, backing its 2017 Series A round alongside early stage venture capital firm Accel. ResponsAbility joined in last year’s Series B round.

Others like Dutch development bank FMO and Swiss investment firm Symbiotics have backed the company with debt financing.

Now having expanded to 14 states and provided more 16 billion rupees in loans to farmers, the company is attracting capital from more mainstream investors.

While a traditional asset manager, Nuveen, which has more than $1 trillion in assets under management, has been growing its impact portfolio in recent years. It has committed more than $1 billion in private impact investments, which includes a stake in healthy school lunch company Revolution Foods.

Elevar, responsAbility and Accel also backed Samunnati’s Series D round.