Impact investment is slowly coming of age in India. From philanthropy to a state where some firms chased sub-par returns as long as it impacted the society, India is now entering an era where investment firms are making money by investing right.
Historically, a big chunk of impact investment money flowed from development financial institutions and foundations. But increasingly, private investment firms have seen they can help companies make a positive impact on the society while at the same time creating real incentives for investors to bankroll such initiatives.
Although what qualifies as impact investment is debatable yet estimates suggest the country has been attracting $1 billion or more annually in recent years. That means around 3-5% of total private equity and venture capital money flow in India represents impact investments. What’s more, international studies show the new generation has a larger appetite to park a part of their savings into channels that help the environment or the society in a positive way. The challenge remains how to create the right products to channel that money, besides creating benchmarks to assess impact as well as returns.
Some specialised VC firms have been aiming at companies which target consumers at the bottom of the pyramid over the past decade. But more recently, a bunch of larger investment firms have shown the appetite for impact investments. With India being home to a large number of impoverished people, ecological aspects of life still not taking the centre stage and governance norms going through an evolution, it is not surprising that India is a big use case for deploying impact money to affect the lives of millions.
To discuss the experience of the existing investors in the market, share insights on how the portfolio companies are running things on the ground, measuring the actual impact and discuss the new investment models, Mosaic Digital, the corporate banner behind VCCircle, is organising its debut edition of the Impact Investment Summit on 17th September at Taj Lands End in Mumbai.