[One can look at micro finance related companies for investment]
Hyderabad-based SKS Microfinance, the country’s largest non-banking finance company (NBFC), today claimed to have raised a landmark Rs 366 crore ($75 million), the largest private equity investment to date in microfinance globally. Sources close to the development said the list of investors include Kismat Capital, SBD India Capital, and Standstone Partners.
Vikram Akula, Founder and CEO of the company said: “The fact that this investment has come during the global economic meltdown is proof of the confidence that investors have in SKS—and more importantly of the resilience and entrepreneurial abilities of the poor not only to survive in today’s economic crisis but actually to prosper because the poor are largely de-coupled from global trends.”
This round of fund raising–fourth since inception–will help the expansion of SKS. Arguably the world’s largest venture capital-backed micro finance company, SKS targets to reach 5 million members by mid 2009. It has provided micro loans of Rs 4,216 crore to 3.2 million poor households across 18 states in 50,000 villages and urban slums of India. SKS also provides life and health insurance to its clients.
Established in 1998, SKS is one of the world’s fastest growing micro-finance organisations with an annual growth rate of 200 per cent.
- In February, it had raised Rs 124 crore from UNITUS, Vinod Khosla, Infocom Ventures, SKS Capital, SIDBI, Tejas Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Yatish Trading, SVB India and Columbia Pacific.
- Prior to that, it had collected Rs 53 crore in March 2007 and Rs 14 crore in March 2006.
- Last month, Swadhaar, a Mumbai-based micro-finance institution has raised $3 million from Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Accion and Unit Equity Fund.
The company has received awards like the CGAP Pro-Poor Innovation Award, the ABN-AMRO/Planet Finance Process Excellence Award, Information Integrity Award, the Digital Partners SEL Award and the Grameen Foundation USA Excellence Award.
Other micro-finance companies in India are Bangalore-based Ujjivan Financial Services and Chennai-based Madura Micro Finance.