India: Impact investor Lightstone Aspada plans to raise ‘large fund’

Impact investment fund Lightstone Aspada is set to increase its investment cheque size from $2-8 million to $4-40 million per company, as it looks to raise a “large fund”.

Over the last six years, Lightstone Aspada has invested nearly $100 million across 20 portfolio firms, a top official said.

On 28 August, Swiss investor LGT, a bank and fund manager with $201 billion of assets, acquired Lightstone Aspada from the Soros Economic Development Fund, for an undisclosed amount, in a bid to create LGT Lightstone as a global impact investment platform.

Aspada has now been rechristened Lightstone Aspada.

“We are looking forward to investing $4-40 million; we are investing out of the balance sheet at this point in time. But over the next couple of quarters, we will go into the market, potentially to raise a large fund. It’s also an opportunity for us to contribute to build something global, while we retain our identity in India, in collaboration with the platform,” said Kartik Srivatsa, managing partner, Lightstone Aspada.

Srivatsa said while they have not finalized the details of the next fund, it could be upwards of $250 million.

Aspada’s origins in impact investing go back to Song Fund, which was set up in 2009 by the Soros Economic Development Fund, Omidyar Network and Google. On the back of Song, Aspada Investment Co. was launched in 2013 with one shareholder, the Soros Economic Development Fund.

So far, Aspada has invested across four themes, including healthcare and education, clean energy and mobility, food and agriculture, and consumer value chains—essential digital goods and financial services. The focus will remain the same, going forward.

It has, so far, exited five investments.

Like most impact investment firms, Lightstone Aspada is okay to stay invested in a firm for as much as a decade and expects internal rate of returns (IRR) of 22%, he added.

Under the alternative investment fund (AIF) regulations, a social venture fund is defined as “an alternative investment fund, which invests primarily in securities or units of social ventures, and which satisfies social performance norms laid down by the fund, and whose investors may agree to receive restricted or muted returns”.

According to the report, India needs to infuse the market with 100 million new non-agrarian jobs over the next 10-15 years to accommodate a growing population, which is educated and unemployed.

Social impact investors are expected to target livelihood, education and health services as key areas of investment interest.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

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.