Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates has recently made a personal investment in Unitus Seed fund, a venture seed fund supporting startups innovating for the masses.
Unitus has raised over USD $4 Mn from 16 high net income Indian investors. The Seed Fund has more than $20 Mn to invest across healthcare, education, mobile commerce & value-added services, marketplaces & ecommerce, retail & distribution, agriculture, water and energy sectors. Unitus has so far made about 14 investments.
The exact amount that Bill Gates has invested has been left undisclosed.
Unitus Seed Fund invests in India through two funds i.e. Unitus Seed Fund India, a Sebi-registered venture capital fund, and Unitus Seed Fund LP, an offshore venture capital fund. Bill Gates’ investment has been made in the offshore fund, which now has 50 investors and $17 Mn of assets under management.
More than 50 leadership investors have committed to Unitus’ offshore India-focused fund, including Bill Gates, Desh Deshpande (formerly Sycamore Networks), Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures), Steve Singh (Cleartrip, Concur) Soma Somasegar (Microsoft), Prady Misra, Vikram Chalana (Winshuttle) among others. A number of leading foundations have also invested, including Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Crystal Springs Foundation, Pfizer Foundation, Sorenson Impact Foundation.
New investors in Unitus Seed Fund India include Srikanth Iyer (former CEO of Pearson India), Sharvil Parikh (Phenix Consulting), Kishore Musale (Astarc Group), Jacob Ninan (Kottackal Business Solutions), Aroon Raman (Raman FibreScience).
“We are very pleased to announce our growing group of Indian HNI investors who see the opportunity to invest in innovative high-growth startups serving the masses in India”, said Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner of Unitus Seed Fund. “We are finding a large number of high-quality entrepreneurs in India who are creating disruptive businesses that can deliver superior financial returns to investors while improving the lives of millions of India’s low-income populations.”
As of September 2014 G8 report on impact investing “The most common obstacle faced by impact entrepreneurs is securing early stage risk capital.” Unitus Seed Fund and its leadership investors aim to address this challenge through their own work and by encouraging HNI investors to embrace impact more broadly.
“Impact investing is a powerful model with the potential to build markets and drive change for the people who need it most,” said Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Recently, Unitus has disclosed its investment in Bangalore based last mile logistics startup Blowhorn and Jiffstore. It has also invested in startups including mGaadi, Caravan Craft, etc.