Bangalore-based online news & stories portal, The Better India, has raised an undisclosed amount in its Series A round led by Elevar Equity with participation from TPG Rise (The Rise Fund). Additionally, the digital media startup has also launched an e-commerce platform for SMEs/MSMEs, NGOs and SHGs in India to sell their products, announced Dhimant Parekh, Founder of TheBetterIndia.com, in a blog post.
The e-commerce platform (shop.thebetterindia.com), which is still in early phase, will procure products from low-income groups and sell online. The products include clay water bottles, sustainable bamboo products, wallets from used tyres, footwear from discarded footwear and more.
“There are millions of micro/small/medium enterprises and NGOs and SHGs in the country that make great products — products that, if sold, generate income for low-income groups and/or are great for the environment. These particularly small enterprises lack access to consumer markets and hence do not have predictable income and growth,” said Parekh in the blog post.
“Large horizontal e-commerce platforms struggle to help these small enterprises due to the ‘discovery of plenty’ issue. These platforms end up focusing on high-frequency high-demand items — mobile phones, fashion etc.,” he said.
Touted as Asia’s largest content platform for impact, TheBetterIndia.com has won several awards in the past, including the Manthan Award for best alternative news site across South Asia.
Speaking on the company’s future plans & vision, Parekh said, “‘Turning Inspiration into Impact’ has been our guiding force ever since we started. We will continue to leverage the internet and our community in innovative ways to help increase income-levels of low-income communities and marginalised communities. In this context, it is particularly important to note that the work of Elevar Equity and The Rise Fund is extremely relevant to our journey forward.”
Currently available in English, Hindi & Malayalam languages, TheBetterIndia.com was started in 2008 by Parekh along with his wife Anuradha Kedia, as a side-project to bring out “positive content” -based news & stories and mobilize people towards social causes.
In Mar 2015, had raised Rs 1 crore from Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I3N or I-cube-N) and others including Myntra Co-founder Raveen Sastry. Later in May of same year, it raised undisclosed capital from Mohandas Pai, former CFO of Infosys.
Elevar Equity, a human centered venture capital firm based out of Bangalore, has partnered with has also partnered with impact investor The Rise fund of TPG Growth and both are working closely in India. Elevar invests in transformative and scalable entrepreneurial ventures focused on communities in India and Latin America.
The Rise Fund is the world’s largest global fund committed to achieving measurable, positive social and environmental outcomes alongside competitive financial returns. In May 2017, The Rise fund made its first investment in India when it invested $50 million in Hyderabad-based Dodla Dairy.