When Vineet Rai began raising his first fund in 2000, it took him five years to raise Rs 50 million, before institutional investors came on board and chipped in more. Since then, the founder of the Aavishkar-Intellecap Group has raised $300 million across six funds and invested in 58 companies.
Aavishkar has raised $95 million for its $200-million sixth fund, and hopes to raise the rest by the end of the year. It is also raising a $150-million African Fund, which it hopes to close by Q1 2019.
While Aavishkar has only returned $50 million and hopes to return another $125 million to $130 million soon, it has created several companies in Eastern India such as small finance bank Utkarsh and dairies like Milk Mantra and HR Food, who have together added 250,000 jobs.
The list includes firms like small finance banks Equitas, Suryodhya, Utkarsh (the only headquartered bank in Uttar Pradesh with assets of Rs 35 billion), Milk Mantra and HR Food (large private diaries in Odisha and Chattisgarh), agritech firm Agrostar also backed by Accel and IDG Ventures, Vatysalya (hospitals for tier-2 towns), Shramik (portable toilets), Nepra (dry waste recycling), INI Farms.
In 95 per cent of these companies, Aavishkar was the first institutional investor and holds large stakes. Other investments include online retailer Jaypore and Rangsutra, Connect India, among others. Rai has been investing in rural businesses before the term 'impact investing' was coined, and has tried to create a eco-system which meets the financial needs of a rural and social enterprise.
Group firm IntelleCash bought Arohan Financial Services in 2012, which boasts of assets of Rs 22 billion in ten low-income states while Intelligrow has assets of Rs 3,500 million in venture debt. ‘‘We can provide anything from Rs 5,000 to Rs 100 crore across debt and equity,” says Rai. The assets being managed by the group add up to Rs 45 billion.
While Rai has been able to create companies and jobs in low-income states, and return a quarter of his money, his next challenge would be deliver exits on the stars in his portfolio.