Head Held High Services Pvt Ltd announced today it had raised a first round of investment of Rs 2.5 crore from angel investors in India and abroad who are focused on impact investments. The investors include Unilazer Ventures, five Angels from the Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I3N), including Pravin Gandhi, Jayesh Parekh, Reena Mithal and Sanjeev Shah, and US-based investors like Kartik Kilachand.
The company is already in advanced talks for a Series A, which is expected to come in by the fiscal-end. This would in the range of Rs 15-20 crore.
Founded in 2012 by Madan Padaki and Rajesh Bhat, Head Held High Services' mission, it claims, is to unleash the power of 'Rubans', through platforms for talent transformation, employment creation and entrepreneur engagement, for the services economy. 'Rubans', for the company, are the new rural youth with "raw talent, entrepreneurial spirit, aspirations and access to technology."
The non-profit Head Held High Foundation, which Padaki founded after exiting MeritTrac, will remain the single largest shareholder in the company. The company claims the non-profit arm will play a major role as a shareholder in shaping the thinking of its for-profit namesake, and is represented by Anand Sudarshan, Foundation Trustee (and former MD & CEO of Manipal Education) on the board of Head Held High Services.
Padaki conceived this model as he realised he could not scale up the non-profit arm by depending on grants alone. He opted for a model of the non-profit arm being a shareholder of a for-profit business to ensure continuous flow of funds.
Head Held High runs three initiatives - RubanShakti, a talent transformation platform where rural youth undergo a residential five-month programme that transforms them into English-speaking, computer-literate, knowledge-economy professionals; RubanSource, a platform that enables these Rubans to deliver services like BPO, market surveys and other info-services from non-urban locations, across sectors like agriculture, health, financial inclusion, consumer and education; and the Ruban Entrepreneur Forum that builds capacity in rural entrepreneurs and enables them to provide last-mile capability across sectors.
Till date Head Held High has trained over 800 youth in three districts - Koppal and Gadag in Karnataka and Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, generating jobs for 90 per cent of its trainees. It has also launched the Ruban Entrepreneur Forum, Gadag Chapter that is working with over 50 rural entrepreneurs in exploring new business opportunities. Head Held High aims to be in 100 districts by 2018, and enable 2 million rural youth to live with their "heads held high" over the next 10 years.