Villgro announces $5 million funding availability for startups through iPitch

Villgro, India’s first social enterprise incubator, has announced the fifth edition of its social start-up discovery platform, iPitch 2021. This will bring the largest coalition of impact investors and incubators on a single platform to channel an unprecedented US$5 million in funding. the application will be opening from 1st August till 31st August 2021.

This is a collaborative initiative put forward by Villgro and Artha Impact for connecting hundreds of social entrepreneurs with impact investors. It offers a broader range of enterprises, from prototype to revenue-generating, that are developing innovative and scalable solutions in Agriculture, Climate Action, Healthcare, Shelter-tech & Housing, Education, and Livelihood, among other sectors. Grants, equity, and debt solutions will be available to social entrepreneurs as well with ticket sizes ranging from USD 25,000 to USD 1 million.

Speaking on the development, Jenaan Lilani Bhargava, Head, Diversity and Inclusion, Villgro Innovations Foundation said, “The pandemic has no doubt affected communities indiscriminately, but as with all economic, climatic or health shocks, the bottom of the pyramid bears the biggest brunt. We wanted to make sure that we are maximizing the leverage of iPitch to the fullest, which is why we doubled the strength of the coalition and worked hard to increase the funding availability by 5x. Moreover, our partnership with Artha Impact will give hundreds of entrepreneurs a direct entry point to one of the largest networks of impact investors across the globe. Equally important, is to ensure that under-represented entrepreneurs have an opportunity to be discovered through iPitch, and we are doing this by working closely with other ecosystem players. We are hopeful that these collaborations will significantly increase the pace of innovations being deployed to under-served communities in India.”

Blue Ashva Capital, Shell Foundation, Upaya Social Ventures, Lavni Ventures, Beyond Capital Fund, 3i Partners, Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter: Habitat for Humanity, Caspian Debt, and CVRCE Technology Incubator Foundation are participants of the iPitch 2021 Coalition (CVRCETIF). This pipeline will also be used by Artha Impact and Villgro to find their next investments.

The enterprises will be invited to Virtual Pitches in October that will have access to the Artha Impact platform, which includes a network of 1200 impact investors and incubators while the iPitch Coalition Partners will invest in start-ups from the prototype to the growth stages. Grant, equity, or debt funding ranging from USD 25,000 to USD 1 million will be available to the winning startups declared by March 2022.

Over the last four years, iPitch has received over 4400 applications from businesses in 200+ Indian cities, funded 30+ start-ups, and distributed approximately 11 crores in funding.

Villgro is the largest social enterprise incubator in India and one of the largest in the world. Villgro, founded in 2001, creates impactful, innovative, and successful businesses in Health, Agribusiness, and Climate Action. Since 2001, Villgro has assisted 323 social enterprises in raising over INR 4,388 million in investment, resulting in the creation of 4922 jobs and the impact of over 20 million lives.

The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (GoI) awarded Villgro the Best Incubator Award in 2020. Villgro has offices in the United States, Kenya, and the Philippines, in addition to India.

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