Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a self-sustaining U.S. government Agency helping American businesses invest in emerging markets, is looking to back late-stage Indian startups i.e Series B, C and D, reported Livemint.
In an interview, David Bohigian, executive vice-president (EVP) at OPIC, said, “In Venture Capital, we are looking at late-stage firms, that is Series B, C and D. What we have decided not to do is get into early-stage venture capital, and not take the technology risk.”
To start off with this, OPIC is investing in Hyderabad-based technology-led firm, WaterHealth, which provides access to safe, WHO-quality affordable drinking water to under-served communities across the globe. The funding via OPIC to the startup will be for setting up clean drinking water at Indian train stations.
OPIC has made the announcement of investment in WaterHealth through its official Twitter handle saying, “OPIC invest in WaterHealth to bring clean water to thousands at India’s train stations.”
— OPIC.gov (@opicgov) October 7, 2018
The amount of funding in WAterHealth and other details are not available at this moment but will be updated soon.
The startup, which has installed more than 500 WaterHealth Centers across India, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nigeria, and Liberia, apparently sells 1 liter of WHO-quality clean drinking water at price of just Rs.5.
Founded in 1995, by Ashok Gadgil, WaterHealth has developed a low-cost business model for the installation, operation, maintenance, and quality monitoring of community water purification systems called WaterHealth Centers. The startup is already backed by US-based investors – SAIL Capital Partners, Vital Venture Capital, The Dow Chemical Company, and Acumen, a non-profit venture fund based out of New York.
WaterHealth raises the funds to procure and install the water purification plant based on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) agreement signed with the Local Government Agency i.e. Panchayat or the Municipality, with a concession term spanning 15 -20 years.
Going forward with OPIC’s India plan, Bohigian further said that venture capital is an important class for the ecosystem as it helps create entrepreneurs. “Entrepreneurs are the most engaged citizens. When you apply the entrepreneurial ecosystem to the world’s largest democracy, we think there is going to be a great ripple effect through the prosperity of all of India. Every year, Opic puts in more than $500 million into private equity and we will continue doing that.”
Notably, OPIC has recently committed an investment in Iron Pillar, a mid-stage India-focused venture capital fund, which had recently made a final close of $90 million for its debut fund.
Currently, OPIC has a private equity portfolio of $3.5 billion and a $23 billion portfolio across 90 countries.The agency typically commits between $5 million and $25 million, or up to a quarter of a fund’s total capitalization.
In India, OPIC has around 40 projects with total investments valued at $1.5 billion across sectors such as power, banking and financial services.
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