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Caspian Debt receives $20 mn from US govt agency as long-term debt

Caspian aims to use the funds to invest in under-served emerging enterprises and women-centric businesses.

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Peerzada Abrar  |  Bengaluru 

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Caspian Debt, with this facility, is also committed to contributing 33 per cent of its investments to women-centric businesses and fulfilling its commitment to DFC’s 2X Women’s Initiative

Caspian Debt, a digital corporate lending financial services company, said it has received an investment of $20 million from the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) as long-term debt. The new facility, which is a combination of subordinated and senior debt will support Caspian Debt in providing customised, collateral free loans digitally to professionally managed enterprises operating in high impact sectors in India. These include microfinance, SME finance, affordable housing, affordable healthcare, sustainable agribusiness and education.

Caspian Debt primarily works with first-generation social entrepreneurs, who find it difficult to raise working capital as they run new-age businesses with an asset-light model, and have no collateral to offer. Many of these are well capitalised and are growing rapidly but require more responsive lenders.

Caspian Debt, with this facility, is also committed to contributing 33 per cent of its investments to women-centric businesses and fulfilling its commitment to DFC’s 2X Women’s Initiative. 2X has catalyzed over $2 billion of private sector investment in businesses and funds owned by, led by, or providing a product or service that intentionally empowers women in the developing world.

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“Caspian Debt has lent over $219 million to over 140 early-stage enterprises contributing to 13 sustainable development goals (SDGs) over the last 7 years. We are delighted to deepen our relationship with DFC, as our partnership continues to provide much needed firepower to support under-served emerging enterprises and women-centric businesses,” said S Viswanatha Prasad, founder and managing director of Caspian Debt. “We will use this funding to focus on promoting disruptive entrepreneurs, who are pushing the envelope for creating sustainable impact. This vote of trust from DFC is even more valuable at a time when the whole world, especially the small and medium companies, are dealing with the economic aftermath of a global pandemic,” said Prasad.

DFC is America’s development bank. It partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. It invests across sectors including energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology. DFC also provides financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs in order to create jobs in emerging markets.

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“Small businesses are the engine of growth and job creation in India, and high impact businesses are the vehicle for achieving a more responsible, sustainable and equitable economic future,” said Anthony Randazzo, CFA Investment Director on the Social Enterprise Finance Team at DFC. “This follow-on loan is an expression of confidence we place in the important work that Caspian Debt does and demonstrates our long-term commitment, particularly in these uncertain times,” said Randazzo.

First Published: Fri, May 08 2020. 18:31 IST
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