Tag Archives: Omidyar Network

Lack of quality social enterprises is the issue and not supply of capital: Omidayar Network’s Jayant Sinha

According to Omidyar Network’s (ON) India head, Jayant Sinha for India’s fledgling social entrepreneurship industry, the problem is not the availability of capital, but the dearth of quality social enterprises (socents) to be invested in. “Capital is available in plenty, what we need is high-quality enterprises to invest in where the founders have the right credentials,” said Sinha at the sidelines of a press conference in Bangalore to announce a new investment in Kolkata-based iMerit Technology Services, an IT enabled services company that trains and hires youth from small towns and cities.

ON founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s is a venture philanthropic fund, that has invested about $113 million (roughly Rs 612 crore), in 35 companies in India, since its inception in 2010. “At the rate we are investing we should invest another $100-200 million in the next 3-5 years,” added Sinha.

ON, which has a sector-based approach to impact investing, mainly invests in social enterprises (socents) or non-profits. In India, 45 per cent of its investments have been into non-profits, while the remainder has been pumped into socents. The sectors that ON invests are consumer internet and mobile, entrepreneurship, financial inclusion, government transparency and traditional philanthropy.

Non-profit investees include Bangalore-based Akshara Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on elementary education, which received a $950,000 grant last year and Anudip Foundation, which focuses on creating livelihoods for disadvantaged youth. ON’s socent portfolio include energy platform company Agni Energy, classifieds firm Quikr, and Vistaar Technologies, which promotes financial inclusion.

Things are hotting up in the social enterprise (socent) investment space in India. Other venture funds with a focus on socents include Khosla Labs, Gray Matters Capital, Aavishkaar, Acumen Fund and Oasis Fund. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that there is close a billion dollars to be invested in socents. The Indian government has plans to invest another $1 billion.

Apply for Rs 1 crore funding from the India Impact Economy Innovations Fund (IEIF) now.

Are you are a social enterprise (socent) or an organization associated with impact investing looking for funding?


Pic courtesy: Dasra

Here’s an easy way to procure more than Rs 1 crore ($200,000) as a grant. Dasra, Omidyar Network, and The Rockefeller Foundation are inviting proposals from organizations that are making a difference to the Indian impact economy, specifically spurring the growth of the impact investing industry and the socent sector.

The aim of the fund, dubbed India Impact Economy Innovations Fund (IEIF), is to support socents that use market driven solutions to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development. Dasra will administer the fund, the lead investor in the fund is The Rockefeller Foundation, its also supported by Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

If you haven’t applied yet, the deadline is looming large; all proposals need to be submitted by March 15th, 2013.

There are 5-8 grants to be given away, for a period of 12 months, total funds that will be disbursed will be to a tune of approximately Rs 4.32 crore ($800,000). More than one grant proposal maybe submitted per organization. Applicants need to bear in mind the funding priorities, that stem from the directions set at the Impact Investing forum (IIF), held on January 16 and 17, 2013. The grant areas are early stage capital solutions, fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems, producing research on policy development, promoting and establishing impact investing industry infrastructure, developing market ecosystems for specific sectors and forming leadership and networking platforms for common actions.

Apply:  Interested organizations can apply by sending the completed forms and other required documentation to ieif@dasra.org, or by mailing it to the following address

Attention: Inchara Shanthappa
M.R. Co-op Housing Society,
Bldg no. J/18, Relief Road,
Off Juhu Tara Road, Santacruz (W),
Mumbai 400 054

Finalists will be announced end-April, 2013 and the grants disbursed between May and June, 2013.