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Our entrepreneurs have an unparalleled sense of urgency and dedication towards their dream. They aspire to build high momentum businesses with scalable solutions that address barriers of access and inequity. We have invested in 45 such businesses, across 10+ countries, and have been the first institutional investor in 37 and the founding investor in 18 of them.
We curate environments for entrepreneurial success by being a partner through lonely and challenging moments, by driving innovation in product design and distribution, and by identifying metrics that ensure business performance and customer impact.
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Peepul Tree is a storytelling powered live commerce platform, aimed at elevating the artisanal community in India. It aims to do so by building a global brand for unique handmade and sustainable Indian products and generating consistent demand for them. The company works with artisanal communities by aggregating supply through a cluster based approach, creating a steady stream of demand and managing the entire supply chain and logistics to global consumers using a technology enabled platform.
About 200Mn people in India are estimated to be dependent on local artforms & handicrafts for a living, through formal and informal channels. Despite a large market and high margins, the current supply chain construct does not equitably distribute margins back to the actual creator of the product – the artisan. Being unable to command a fair price for their efforts, lacking the technical know-how on managing an online business and without visibility into a consistent demand flow, these artisans have no option but to find alternate means of living. As a result, many unique artforms are gradually vanishing from India.
At the same time, there is a rising global trend of consumers who believe in authentic, handmade, well designed products offering an experience and connection. Peepul Tree intends to tap into this trend by leveraging storytelling on local cultures, communities and their history available on its content platform – Live History India. It plans to use influencers, prominent historians, and popular shows to share these stories with a global audience, in the process bringing them closer to the art form and creators as well as enabling seamless commerce while engaging with the content.
CureBay is a digital healthcare platform that aims to transform the patient experience in remote locations of India by providing affordable and high-quality primary healthcare through a hybrid model – a network of physical eClinics, powered by a robust technology platform. CureBay has built a powerful suite of services that have hitherto been beyond the reach of most rural Indians.
Access to quality primary healthcare in close proximity and at affordable prices is a pronounced pain point for most of rural India. This customer spends a significant portion of total household income on healthcare. Costs can skyrocket during a crisis and there is no safety net as insurance penetration is less than 1% in rural India. The customer is averse to traveling for treatment in urban areas owing to the resultant loss of income, and often postpones doctor visits for as long as possible. Delays in diagnosis and subsequent treatment worsen health outcomes and make treatments even more expensive.
CureBay’s healthcare fulfillment model brings holistic patient care and convenience to rural patients’ doorsteps by enabling doctor consultation, and facilitating medicine purchase and pathology tests in the eClinic. Patients also have access to a network of certified partner labs as well as hospitals.
Galena is an employability platform that caters to low income youth in Brazil (mostly recent high school graduates). They struggle to afford higher education and consequently due to limited skill sets, end up with blue collar, low-paying jobs or remain unemployed. Galena offers them an affordable and effective training and matching program, powered by a robust technology platform and partnerships with top employers in Brazil. By doing so, it aims to bridge the gap between the large number of students who are stuck in the system and employers who struggle to source, hire and retain quality talent. Most upskilling and employability companies focus on post-university tech positions. Galena, on the other hand, focuses on both soft skills and targeted skills (such as sales, basic accounting and management). This creates additional opportunities for students to apply for non-technical “white-collar” entry positions that can get them up to 60% more salary than they would do otherwise.
In Brazil, there are ~1.7Mn public school grads per year, plus ~2Mn higher education drop-outs per year and an additional 11Mn young Brazilians that are neither studying nor working. Out of the potential working youth, 53% remain unemployed (20% with no job and 33% dropping out of the workforce). On the other hand, there’s a huge disconnect between what companies need and expect and the education people receive, including entry level positions.
Fairplay supports the growth of e-commerce SMBs by fueling working capital for their performance marketing campaigns, inventory and logistics costs with a flexible, fast and friendly product. Fairplay uses data from the merchants’ online selling platforms and develops forecasting algorithms that allow it to predict performance, underwrite the merchants and offer personalized and flexible products to them. In addition to financial products, the platform also offers the merchants insights into their operation, trends, and market intelligence – a service that is currently unavailable on other platforms.
~68% of the working capital needs of most e-commerce companies are inventory, customer acquisition / marketing, and logistics cost. They often end up having to choose between these activities, as access to capital and funding is almost non-existent until SMBs reach a sizable scale – traditional fintech and banks are not designed / prepared to underwrite digital SMBs’ financial needs based on performance. This lack of funding can have a significant impact on business growth.
StrideOne, a technology led financial services platform for startups (anchors), provides smartly designed customized financial solutions to MSMEs and supply chain partners of their anchors. Its unique distribution model provides access to customized growth capital for MSMEs and also enables risk efficient penetration into untapped borrower segments that are associated with StrideOne’s partners.
StrideOne leverages its sister company, Stride Venture’s (a venture debt fund) underwriting expertise and deep rooted understanding of the startup (anchor) ecosystem’s financing need-gaps along with their data on business performance and vendor cash flows. Doing so not only enhances StrideOne’s risk efficiency, but since it has an anchor-led approach to lending, the effective customer acquisition cost is zero. This gives the company a significant advantage and lends itself to exponential growth. StrideOne has a state of the art technology stack and offers an end to end digitized experience to its partners and borrowers alike.
India houses more than 63Mn MSMEs which employ over 111Mn+ people and contribute about 30% to India’s GDP. 80% of the MSMEs in India lack access to formal financing and the credit gap stands at $380Bn. Most of these MSMEs borrow from informal sources such as local money lenders to meet cash requirements and end up paying exorbitant interest rates.
Niro is an embedded consumer lending platform which aims to address the lack of financial access for thin file & new to credit customers in urban and semi urban India. This segment does not have access to traditional financial lending models due to poor credit scores or no prior credit history.
Niro aims at leveraging the data and distribution of consumer internet companies, to offer a holistic set of financial products (through partnerships with banks and non-bank lenders) to these underserved customers. Through its innovative distribution approach and robust credit underwriting, Niro will provide competitive and frictionless products that improve financial access for its target segment.
There are c. 400 million people aged between 18-33 years in rural and semi-urban areas, but the credit penetration in this segment is only 8 percent. Lack of financial literacy, trust deficit in the organized banking system, employment volatility, and a demographic skew towards lower age and income brackets are the fundamental causes of single digit credit penetrations in these geographies, creating a significant credit gap.
Cloudphysician is a healthcare services and med-tech platform enabling improved health outcomes by addressing the lack of access to quality critical care in ICUs across the globe, including tier 2/3 cities and beyond. Through its technology-driven tele-ICUs, Cloudphysician tackles the problem of limited ICU infrastructure and unavailability of skilled critical care physicians in remote locations. The Cloudphysician model and proprietary technology, RADARTM, make it possible for small hospitals in these locations to provide their patients better, more cost-effective and efficient critical care solutions.
Developing countries have chronic scarcity of critical care options per capita. Most ICU beds are concentrated in tier 1 and tier 2 cities, with limited or no critical care capacity in smaller districts and towns. For example, India has only 0.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people and 0.8 doctors per 1,000 people*.
Favo is disrupting the retail model in Latin America by becoming the first and largest community group buying company in the region. Currently operating in Brazil and Peru, Favo is an online supermarket leveraging community leaders who are responsible for customer management, customer aggregation and sales management.
For an average household in the region, it is estimated that food and transportation represent between 45% to 55% of the expenses for the low and middle income population.
Justo is the first 100% online supermarket in Mexico. The company prioritizes fair treatment of its suppliers and the environment, while providing convenience, quality and accessible prices to the mass market in Mexico and Latin America.
For the average household in Mexico, food and transportation represent more than 55% of their income and one out of five people in the country cannot afford to have a balanced diet. In fact, most households in the country do not have enough income to cover their estimated expenses per month.
SarvaGram is India’s first household centric, data-science led distribution platform that provides a bouquet of financial and productivity-enhancing offerings to meet the growing aspirations of rural India. The uniqueness in SarvaGram’s approach comes from the strong link between financial services / other propositions and the household’s income generation / asset creation capabilities.
The total addressable market in the context of rural households is expected to exceed $10 trillion over the next decade.
InCred is a lending platform that uses advanced technology and data-science to enhance access to financial services for underserved Indian households and SMEs.
India’s 50+ million MSMEs face a $240 billion credit gap, that has only widened in the last five years. Similarly, approval rates for consumer credit have dropped by nearly 10 percentage points since 2016, while consumer credit demand grows sharply, indicating a large demand-supply gap.
The Better India (TBI) started as a blog reporting positive news. It then began original reporting of news primarily focused on those stories which created impact – both social and environmental. TBI’s vision for the media brand is to be a solution based media platform which curates positive news through various content formats, including podcasts, articles, original videos, etc. The TBI platform has been successful in engaging their audience and consequently creating impact through their stories – both financially and non-financially.
Origa is India’s first leasetech platform helping SMEs enhance business capacity. By offering equipment leasing and lifecycle solutions, Origa is helping small businesses manage their equipment, in addition to freeing up their balance sheets by converting capex into opex.
Leasing accounts for less than 1% of MSME financing in India.
Ticmas seeks to close Latin America’s literacy gap by offering students and the general population a suite of digital products for the discovery, management, and distribution of affordable, high quality and locally relevant Spanish language digital content.
According to 2015 PISA results, 46% of 15-year-olds in Latin America do not meet minimum standards of literacy and text comprehension.
LEAD’s mission is to empower India by making excellent education, accessible and affordable to children in underserved communities.
Based on a study in 2016, only 45% of grade eight students were able to read simple sentences in English and 43% were able to do a simple arithmetic division, a decline of more than 20 percentage points over six years.
Nuvemshop allows micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Latin America to access new sale channels by enabling the setup, management, and promotion of their online business easily and from any device, thus increasing their productivity and sales.
MSMEs in Argentina and Brazil account for >99% of enterprises and >64% of employment, and are concentrated in the commerce and services sectors.
Bike Bazaar (erstwhile WheelsEMI) provides a range of affordable solutions that drive mobility for working families, through financing, lifecycle management, and a transparent marketplace for two wheelers.
Mobility is a strong driver of employability in low-income communities and India is one of the world’s largest markets for pre-owned two-wheelers, estimated at over 12 million units per year.
Samunnati empowers smallholder farmers and agricultural enterprises by providing access to markets through financial intermediation, market linkages and advisory services.
The estimated credit potential in India for a few top value chains in Samunnati’s portfolio is over $30 billion.
Aarusha provides safe, well – priced, high value temporary housing solutions to low income migrants in urban India.
Afluenta is a technology-enabled marketplace that connects lenders and borrowers increasing access and affordability of financial services in Latin America.
BEDU, an EdTech company, combines a proprietary tech-enabled platform and online curated content with an asset-light, offline model to provide courses that are linked to professional advancement.
Los Andes is a deposit-taking, regulated finance company that caters to the needs of the rural community in Peru. It is a leading community bank with strong customer focus and a unique credit model. In 2016, Elevar exited with Creation Investments Capital Management LLC acquiring a majority stake in the company.
Canasta Rosa’s online platform enables individual, micro and small entrepreneurs, typically women working out of their homes in Mexico, expand the market reach of their products.
Comat provided access to essential information and e-governance services through 800 rural business centers distributed across Karnataka, India.
Credex serves low income borrowers through individual productive loans in the poor urban and semi-urban areas and village banking in the rural areas of Mexico.
Finsol Brazil is a microfinance institution reaching the vast number of micro-entrepreneurs living in the outskirts of cities around Northeast Brazil who have relatively little credit within their reach. In 2008, when Financiera Independencia acquired the parent company Finsol Mexico, Elevar exited its stake.
GloboKasNet (GKN) is the largest multi-bank payment network in Peru offering transaction, processing, settlement and bill payment services to low income urban and rural clients of banks, microfinance institutions (MFIs) and commercial wholesalers. GloboKasNet’s vision is to turn into reality the economic and social inclusion of any person, anywhere, without regard to distance or population density.
Glocal provides state of the art healthcare to the rural population in India through an integrated model of comprehensive primary & secondary care hospitals, digital dispensaries and technology.
Grama Vidiyal Microfinance is a provider of small loans to women in Tamil Nadu without access to formal credit. In 2015, the company was sold through a strategic sale to IDFC Bank and Elevar exited its full stake.
Kamatan was building an inclusive agriculture value chain with a focus on empowering producers and solving the core challenges of small-holder farmers: to gain improved access to markets, technology and capital. In April 2021, Samunnati (also an Elevar portfolio company) acquired Kamatan through a share swap, joining forces to reach millions of farmers and unlock a massive opportunity in agri commerce and finance.
Madura is a highly efficient customer-focused microfinance institution. The company provides unsecured microfinance loans to women self-help groups and micro-entrepreneurs in rural and semi-urban areas. In 2020, Madura merged with CreditAccess Grameen Ltd., and Elevar exited its stake in the company.
MokshaYug Access is a rural supply chain management company that builds market linkages between rural communities and larger commercial markets with a focus on dairy.
Shubham provides home loans and home improvement loans to low income individuals and families in urban and semi-urban India.
SKS Microfinance is one of India’s largest microfinance institutions – lending to over 5 million women – and is globally recognized as a leader in the industry. SKS Microfinance went public in 2010. We led the series A investment in SKS. After a series of partial sales pre, during and post the IPO over a couple of years, Elevar exited its final stake in the company in 2013.
Swadhaar focuses on providing services to the economically active poor in the city of Mumbai and other urban areas. In 2015, the company was sold through a strategic sale to Ratankar Bank Ltd. and Elevar exited its full stake.
Ujjivan Financial Services started operations as an NBFC (Non Banking Financial Company) with the mission of catering to the economically active poor who are not adequately served by financial institutions. It now operates as a Small Finance Bank, which operates in urban and semi-urban areas and provides a range of financial services to individuals and businesses in low income communities. Ujjivan went public with an IPO in 2016. In 2022, Elevar divested its remaining stake in the company, after a series of partial exits over the years.
Union Andina enables Latin American migrants in the United States and Europe to purchase a home in their country of origin. The company offers migrant workers access to qualified real estate developers’ inventory list as well as mortgage financing solutions.
Vistaar specializes in providing credit to micro, small and medium enterprises in India’s rural and semi-urban areas.