Unitus Capital (“UC”) had another fantastic year in 2016, as we strengthened our position as the leading social impact investment bank globally and celebrated our eighth anniversary of operations. As always, our clients inspired us every day with the impact they are making in the lives of those living at the bottom of the economic pyramid (“BoP”).
Since our founding in 2008, we have raised $1.5 bn for 75 high quality impact businesses in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia, China, and Australia, in sectors including financial inclusion, healthcare, renewable energy, education, agriculture and women empowerment. The capital we have raised for our clients has enabled them to positively impact many millions of lives.
Looking back at 2016, here are some of our highlights:
- We closed eighteen equity deals in 2016, raising ~$75 mn and a total of ~$800 mn in equity for our clients to date. Some notable transactions this year include:
- Aye Finance: A NBFC that lends to microenterprises, empowering their economic transformation. We helped Aye Finance raise capital from LGT Ventures, SAIF Partners and Accion.
- Chaitanya India Fin Credit: A South India based microfinance company that provides financial services in the form of microfinance, vehicle finance, dairy loans, affordable housing finance, etc. We helped Chaitanya raise capital from ShoreCap and others.
- Indian School Financing Company (ISFC): An NBFC focused on lending to affordable schools and educational institutions for infrastructure enhancements. We helped Gray Matters Capital invest in ISFC.
- Osam Dairy: A dairy company based out of Ranchi that sources from farmers in some of the poorest parts of the country and in turn provides its customers with high quality dairy products. We helped Osam raise capital from Lok Capital and Aavishkar.
- Ovum Hospitals: A maternity hospital which strives to deliver standardized, high quality, affordable healthcare solutions. We helped Ovum raise capital from IL&FS Investment Managers and Norwest Venture Partners.
- Sonata Finance: A North India based microfinance company with a sole focus on providing financial services thorough individual as well as group lending models. We helped Sonata raise equity from Proparco and Triodos Bank. We also helped getting a partial exit for existing investors MSDF, Bellwether and IFIF.
- Varthana: A NBFC that provides debt financing to affordable private schools across India. We helped Varthana raise capital from Kaizen Private Equity, Zephyr Peacock, Ratnakar Bank and existing investors. We also helped existing investor, Accion, get full exit.
- In 2016, we raised ~$18 mn in debt for eleven clients, and over ~$410 mn to date, to fund our clients’ growth and increase their social impact. Some transactions include:
- Ayurvaid Hospitals: A pioneer in quality systems driven Ayurveda medical care. We helped Ayurvaid raise debt from Intellegrow.
- Eye-Q Hospital: An eye care chain committed to providing best quality eye care at affordable cost, across India. We helped Eye-Q raise capital from Deutsche Bank.
- Jagaran Microfinance: Established with the aim of empowering the economically weaker sections of society by providing them with access to financial services. We helped Jagaran raise debt from Muthoot Capital Services.
- Janalakshmi: A Bangalore based, new age microfinance institution with a focus on the urban underserved population. We helped Janalakshmi raise unsecured debt from Karnataka Bank.
- Light Microfinance: A leading provider of microfinance services with its gender and poverty focused program, targeting rural and semi-urban areas. We helped Light Microfinance raise debt from Capital First in two rounds of debt funding.
- Saija Finance: Formed with a focus on providing microfinance services to urban and rural poor in underserved geographies of Northern & Eastern India, starting with Bihar. We helped Saija raise debt from Hero Fincorp.
- Vedika Credit Capital: A microfinance finance institution based out of Ranchi, Jharkhand in Eastern India. We helped Vedika raise debt from Muthoot Capital Services.
- We helped Caspian Impact Investments raise a Non-Convertible Debenture (NCD) in the first half of 2016 and ~$280 mn since inception through NCD / External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) placements. Caspian is an investment advisory firm that invests capital in socially responsible, multiple bottom line businesses delivering financial and social value.
- In 2016, we closed our first securitisation transaction for Chaitanya Microfinance, where RBL Bank and Caspian invested. Chaitanya is a Southern India based microfinance company with a vision to improve the lives of the low-income population through wide range of financial services.
- We held our annual conference on “Is the financial inclusion sector overheating, or just getting started?” in December. Ramesh Ramanathan (Chairman and Founder of Janalakshmi Financial Services) and Narayan Ramachandran (Chairman of RBL Bank and Co-Chairman of Unitus Capital) had a rousing debate on the topic.
- After the announcement of INR 500 and 1,000 notes ceasing to be a legal tender, we hosted a conference call for investors, both in India and abroad, to inform them about the potential effects of demonetization on microfinance institutions and other financial institutions.
Again, rated the #1 investment bank in India:
- We were ranked the top investment bank, in terms of deal volume, by VCCircle for the 3rd year in a row:
- We were also ranked the top investment bank, in terms of deal volume, by Venture Intelligence for the 4th year in a row:
- Huge congratulations to Neha Mudaliar, who received the award of ‘Iconic Women in Social Enterprise’ from the Women Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF is a part of the All Ladies League (ALL) the world’s largest league of diverse and positive women uniting and uplifting the world.
- Our Co-Founder Eric Savage and Abhijit Ray, spoke at a variety of events during the year to build the impact investing ecosystem, including;
- As a part of UC’s focus on women empowerment, Eric spoke at the launch of Sounder Connect.
- Eric participated in the Grand Debate on financial inclusion at the South Asia Micro-entrepreneurs’ Network (SAMN) Regional Conference.
- Eric spoke at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University, about the challenges UC has faced as a pioneer in the impact investment sector.
- Eric spoke with filmmaker Shikha Makan on a panel following the Bengaluru opening of the film, Bachelor Girls.
- Abhijit spoke at the AVPN Annual Conference, held in Hong Kong, on how to hire, develop and retain talent in social enterprises.
- At the first Impact Investing Summit held in Bangladesh, Abhijit shared his perspective on impact investing in India.
- At the Impact Investor Council’s event – Prabhav, Abhijit spoke on the topic, ‘Responsible Exits and Fund Structure – Can they co-exist?’
- Abhijit spoke on ‘The Road Ahead – Opportunities and Challenges in the Financial Inclusion Space’ at the MFIN Investor Conclave.
- At the VCCircle Finserv event, Abhijit spoke on the topic ‘SME Lending: Channels to Bridge Demand – Supply’.
- Eric Savage became an inaugural fellow of The ASPEN Institute’s Finance Leaders Fellowship Program, which is designed to bring values-based leadership to the global finance ecosystem.
We are excited about our potential to help many more impactful companies scale their businesses in 2017.
Onward and upward!
The UC Team