India-based impact fundraising platform Milaap Social Ventures has raised an additional $1.1m in venture capital.
The round was led by Singapore early stage investment firm Jungle Ventures, and an approved technology incubator under the Singapore National Research Foundation’s Technology Incubation Scheme. Other investors included Toivo Annus and Jayesh Parekh, Singapore family office Lionrock Capital as well as existing investor Unitus Seed Fund.
Prior to this investment, Milaap raised $250,000 in seed investments from Unitus Seed Fund, First Light Ventures, Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Rajiv Madhok.
The current round of funds will be used to expand engineering and marketing investments and to invest in scaling up marketing and outreach efforts.
Milaap is targeting the more than 480 million Indians mostly living in the rural and semi-urban areas and who are outside of the formal banking system. Less than five per cent of them are able to procure reasonably priced, life-improving loans for their small businesses, vocational training, or other household assets.
Milaap works with grass-root organisations across India to share individual lending needs which are then published on its online fundraising platform which enables individuals, companies, and interest groups to provide loans. Lenders are able to track specific progress of the loan from initial funding to repayment and impact made, and mobilise more funds through their social networks.
To date, Milaap has raised over $800,000 in loans for projects such as better school infrastructure, employment-linked training for the youth, seed capital for small businesses, access to clean water & sanitation, and safe lighting.
“Asia has the largest pool of people who do not have access to traditional banking systems. We are tapping on the long tail of the internet and disrupting how people – either individually or through their activated social networks can raise and provide capital to the millions who are unbanked,” said Sourabh Sharma, CEO & Co-founder of the company.
Jayesh Parekh, managing partner of Jungle Ventures which led this investment round said, “I have known the founding team of Milaap for the past few years. They are passionate entrepreneurs and they seem to have good execution capabilities. Enabling crowd funding in Asia comes with its own set of challenges and they have shown good traction early on. I believe Milaap has the potential to build a compassionate community where millions of Internet users come together to create sustainable and long term impact.”
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