Social Enterprise Incubator Villgro Invests In 7 New Startups

Chennai based social business incubator Villgro has invested in seven new startups and all seven startups have secured funding in the range of Rs 10-15 lakh. Villgro has marked its second set of funding this fiscal year. Earlier in September Villgro had invested in 3 startups and this new investments in 7 more new startups takes its investment and incubation portfolio to 10 companies.

"In these companies, we have found the exciting combination of innovation, passionate and motivated entrepreneurs who are committed to social impact and the potential for financial viability and scalability." said Mukesh Sharma, Chief Investment and Incubation Officer, Villgro.

All seven start-ups have prototypes of products that will be ready for the market over the next six-nine months.

Villgro is India's oldest social enterprise incubator, and has supported 103 enterprises, secured Rs 873 million in follow-on funding, and claims to touched over 6.8 million lives.

Villgro will provide mentoring, access to relevant networks & talent to help these seven new startups, working in healthcare, agriculture & education, execute & grow.

By end of this fiscal, Villgro plans to incubate and invest in 25-30 companies. Of these, 11 companies are from The Arthur Venture Challenge platform, which have engaged Villgro to provide incubation support only. The balance is being funded solely by Villgro.

The 7 startups in which Villgro has invested are:

  1. Kamal Kisan -The Startup aims to address labour shortage by improving the financial viability of small farmers. Founded by Devi Murthy and Karan Patel, the company is developing a range of agricultural implements that bring the productivity advantages of mechanization to small farmers.

  2. Flybird Innovations -Founded by Satish KS, whose affordable irrigation controller helps farmers irrigate their crops more accurately, increasing yields and quality. This device will bring the ability to implement sophisticated water management practices to small and marginal farmers.

  3. VectorDoc -This startup is developing an Artifical Intelligence-based mobile phone app that is intended to be used by a low skill resource to triage and return a preliminary diagnosis. Founded by Vincent TP, the company aims to address the shortage of good doctors in rural India by using their time more efficiently.

  4. MicroX Labs -This startup was founded with a vision to provide affordable, accessible and quality healthcare to all. Their first device will tackle the issue of providing accurate blood tests at point of care, which will assist physicians with a quick & efficient diagnosis of a variety of diseases as well allow them to treat the patient effectively

  5. BEMPU -BEMPU was founded by Ratul Narain, is developing an intuitive neonatal temperature monitor that empowers mothers or other caretakers to better manage their newborn's temperature and be alerted in case of these conditions. Hypothermia and infection are among the top causes of newborn deaths and regular temperature monitoring can enable early intervention.

  6. SustainEarth -It was founded by Koushik Yanamandram, Shankar Ramakrishnan, and Piyush Sohani – innovatively addresses issues of livelihood and clean energy in rural India through a low-cost biogas plant for household
    use in rural communities. This converts animal waste into clean fuel solutions integrating issues of
    livelihoods and energy. View IndianWeb2 coverage of SustainEarth

  7. SkillTrain -SkillTrain was founded by B.Ganesh, is using audio, video and simulation based learning material for learners to understand and practice vocational skills, SkillTrain aims to bridge the gap between the 15 million youth who drop out of schools each year and the projected need for nearly 150 million skilled employees in India by 2020.

Additionally, Villgro is launching a social impact fund with a corpus of Rs 20 crore by March 2015 we reported in September. It has now sought the formal commitment of Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, which has invested an undisclosed amount in the fund. "Michael & Susan Dell Foundation's support for Villgro's new social impact investment fund is part of its strategy to catalyse mission-aligned, market-based solutions for the urban poor in India.

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