India: Accion Venture exits Bangalore-based NBFC Varthana

Accion Venture Lab, the seed-stage investment vehicle of financial inclusion leader Accion, has exited Bangalore-based non-banking finance company (NBFC) Varthana.

The exit value and return could not be immediately ascertained.

Varthana which is run by Thirumeni Finance Pvt Ltd, provides specialized loans and support to affordable private schools in India, promoting access to and the quality of education for India’s poor and emerging middle class.

Accion led the first institutional investment round in Varthana in May 2013. It had invested Rs 3.5 crore alongwith LGT Venture Philanthropy Foundation and Elevar Equity Advisors Pvt. Ltd for a combined 26.4 per cent stake.

“Since we invested, Varthana has been able to demonstrate the viability of its unique sector-focused approach, attract significant additional external funding, and ultimately, advance its mission to increase access to quality education for students across India,” said Vikas Raj, Accion Venture Lab managing director.

Impact-focused Unitus Capital acted as an exclusive advisor to Accion on this deal.

“Key to Accion’s approach to advancing financial inclusion is finding sustainable ways to generate both social and financial return from our investments and partnerships,” said Accion president and CEO Michael Schlein.

“Our partnership with Varthana and our successful exit from this investment demonstrate the viability of Venture Lab’s approach to supporting early-stage start-ups that expand access to financial services around the world,” he added.

As of August 2016, Varthana has supported more than 2,000 schools, 38,000 teachers, and one million students, and has disbursed more than $35 million to schools that serve lower and middle income Indians.

It operates in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

In March this year, Varthana had raised $14 million in Series B round led by Kaizen Private Equity and Zephyr Peacock India. Elevar Equity, LGT Venture Philanthropy and Omidyar Network had also participated in the round.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.