Menterra Social Impact Fund, an impact fund that invests in early-stage social enterprises working in education, healthcare and agricultural sectors, has made its first investment in Delhi-based skill development organisation LEAP Skills Academy.
Menterra has co-invested in LEAP Skills along with Artha Venture Challenge, an initiative of Rianta Capital Zurich. The funding will be used to refine the business model, enable key hiring and expansion of the team, refine and grow the training content available and increase operations to five more districts within the next year.
Launched in 2013 with a pilot batch of 60 students, LEAP (Learning, Employability and Progress) now operates in over 10 institutes across three districts in Haryana. Since its launch, the company has worked with over 1,000 students in a variety of courses, with approximately a 90 per cent placement rate for students who complete their employment-linked skills training programmes.
"This company represents the kind of enterprises that Menterra was founded for, and seeks to support a strong entrepreneurial team that has demonstrated a keen understanding of the sector and speedy and effective execution on the ground, and the ability to experiment with a variety of modules in order to build the most effective training programmes," Mukesh Sharma, managing director of Menterra, said in a statement.
Launched in January this year, Menterra offers startups funding of between Rs 1 crore and Rs 4 crore at the critical early-stage of a business.
Menterra collaborates with social enterprise incubator, Villgro, to support and fund for-profit social enterprises operating in India.
The education startup space is fast growing with more companies focussed on skill training solutions for the poor, given the government's focus on vocational training as well. In 2015, there were 18 impact investments in education, eight of them between $100,000 and $500,000. And, one-third of them were in the K-12 segment. Most recently, Villgro has funded Vahan, an education startup developing a tech-enabled platform for teaching English to low-income adults.