Villgro, India’s pioneering incubator for social enterprises, has announced its fifth edition of the social start-up discovery platform – iPitch 2021. This year, iPitch brings together its largest coalition of impact investors and incubators to channel its highest ever pool of funding, amounting to an unprecedented USD 5 million.

Villgro and Switzerland-based Artha Impact are jointly launching iPitch with an aim to connect hundreds of social entrepreneurs with impact investors; this is beyond the 30+ entrepreneurs that stand to win funding. This year’s coalition is seeking a wider range of enterprises right from prototype stage to revenue generating enterprises that are creating innovative and scalable solutions in Agriculture, Climate Action, Healthcare, Shelter-tech & Housing, Education and Livelihood among other sectors. Social entrepreneurs will have access to grants, equity and debt solutions with ticket sizes ranging from USD 25,000 to USD 1 million.

The iPitch 2021 Coalition comprises Blue Ashva Capital, Shell Foundation, Upaya Social Ventures, Lavni Ventures, Beyond Capital Fund, 3i Partners, Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter: Habitat for Humanity, Caspian Debt, and CVRCE Technology Incubator Foundation(CVRCETIF). Artha Impact and Villgro too will be scouting for their next investments through this pipeline.

Sharing her thoughts on this year's iPitch, Jenaan Lilani Bhargava, Head, Diversity and Inclusion, Villgro Innovations Foundation said, “The pandemic has no doubt affected communities indiscriminately, but as with all economic, climatic or health shocks, the bottom of the pyramid bears the biggest brunt. We wanted to make sure that we are maximizing the leverage of iPitch to the fullest, which is why we doubled the strength of the coalition and worked hard to increase the funding availability by 5x. Moreover, our partnership with Artha Impact will give hundreds of entrepreneurs a direct entry point to one of the largest networks of impact investors across the globe. Equally important, is to ensure that under-represented entrepreneurs have an opportunity to be discovered through iPitch, and we are doing this by working closely with other ecosystem players. We are hopeful that these collaborations will significantly increase the pace of innovations being deployed to under-served communities in India.”

The Coalition Partners of iPitch will invest in start-ups from prototype to growth stages. The winning startups will get access to grant, equity, or debt funding ranging from USD 25,000 to USD 1 million. Additionally, all enterprises that are invited to Virtual Pitches will receive access to the Artha Impact Platform - a network of 1200 impact investors and incubators.


Call to Applications: 1st August till 31st August 2021

All startups will be screened by the funding partners. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to Virtual Pitches and will also be part of pitch preparation meetings with the investors they are shortlisted by. . Virtual pitches will be conducted in October and the winners will be announced by March 2022.

Additionally, Villgro will be conducting knowledge and training sessions for all iPitch applicants.

Notably, over the last four years, iPitch has received over 4400 applications from enterprises based in 200+ cities of India, funded 30+ start-ups and deployed around ₹11 crores in funding.

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About Villgro

Villgro is India's foremost and one of the world's largest social enterprise incubators. Established in 2001, Villgro creates impactful, innovative and successful enterprises in Health, Agribusiness, and Climate Action. Since 2001, Villgro has supported 323 social enterprises that have raised over INR 4,388 million in investments, to create 4922 jobs and impact over 20 million lives. Villgro was awarded the Best Incubator Award by the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (GoI) in 2020. Apart from India, Villgro also has a presence in the USA, Kenya and the Philippines.

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