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Monday, August 28, 2006

VC funds for Microfinance

BHANU PANDE & AMANPREET SINGH of Economic Times report that the last one year has seen the emergence of close to dozen funds dedicated to investment in microfinance institutions. The latest to hop on to the bandwagon is the Maharashtra government's VC Fund, Urjankur, which has roped in IL&FS to manage it. Urjankur is a dedicated microfinance fund.
The biggest investment in microfinance was made by Silicon Valley-based VC guru Vinod Khosla, who joined hands with Sidbi to invest $2.5 million in Hyderabad-based SKS Micro Finance a few months ago.
On similar lines, Actis India chief Donald Peck joined International Finance Corporation (IFC), UK-based CDC and others to invest in Delhi-based Lok Capital, a VC fund that plans to invest $12 million in microfinance projects.
Redmond-based Unitus Private Equity, along with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, has invested in Bangalore-based microfinance fund Ujjivan Financial Services.
Vikram Akula, founder and CEO of SKS Microfinance, one of the world’s fastest-growing microfinance institutions, was named by TIME Magazine as one of “The People Who Shape Our World” for 2006.
Khosla along with Grameen Foundation, invested $5,00,000 in microfinance institution CASHPOR Financial and Technical services a few months ago.
ICICI bank already invested in three micro finance funds — Hyderabad-based Bellwether microfinance fund, Mumbai’s Avishkar-Goodwell Fund and Lok Capital.

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