Villgro’s iPitch 2019: India’s marquee social impact investors come together to offer Rs 8 Crore investment to startups looking for seed to pre-series A funding.
They said no to raising huge investments early on.
They even opted out of opportunities that required them to relocate to other countries that had robust technical and production ecosystems.
This is not something you get to hear very often about startups trying to create social impact, especially when funding and incubation support is not that easy to come by. But that’s exactly what Bengaluru-based young MedTech startup Morphle did.
Having designed a one-of-a-kind comprehensive, affordable digital pathology platform, the co-founders of Morphle took some strategic yet tough decisions. They were always aware of the fact that they would need hands-on support, but only from people who had walked the path, and had the right connects to help them break through to users beyond early adopters. “Scaling up sales of a MedTech product beyond the chasm can get very complex,” says Rohit Hiwale, CEO and Co-Founder, Morphle.
Making impactful innovation sustainable
Morphle’s experience is not singular. In fact, today, an increasing number of startups are looking for support to build sustainable business models to solve India’s pressing social problems. “Incubators need to become the go-to place for social impact startups to find that kind of support,” believes Srinivas Ramanujam, COO, Villgro.
Villgro is one such destination for social startups in India. Having started its journey in 2001 with incubation at a time when social entrepreneurship was still nascent, over the years its scope expanded to providing seed funding, mentoring, technical assistance, go-to market partnerships, and much more. “While we saw brilliant entrepreneurs with highly impactful innovations, we realised they were finding business development challenging,” explains Srinivas.
Today, as India’s oldest and largest social incubator, Villgro provides social ventures, working primarily in the areas of areas of agriculture, health, education and energy, seed funding, access to go-to market partners, accelerates their clinical trials and provides them with mentorship and technical assistance. In addition, it also helps with follow-on funding through investment partners likeMenterraand its many flagship programmes, which includes its annual investment discovery platform iPitch.
This year, in its third edition, iPitch will see Rs 8 crore investments available for startups. Seed stage startups can expect to win investment of at least Rs 25 lakh, and for a Pre-Series A startup investments can go up to Rs 5 crore, led by Menterra Social Impact Fund.
In addition, 12 social ventures will get the opportunity to be part of Upaya Social Ventures’ fully funded Accelerator Programme. Startups also stand to win investment and incubation support from India’s marquee social impact investors and incubators like Menterra Social Impact Fund, Beyond Capital Fund, Upaya Social Ventures, SINE (IIT-Bombay) and TIMed, among a host of others.
Since every shortlisted startup will get a chance to present at the grand finale being held as part of Villgro’s Unconvention, one of India’s largest gathering of social enterprises, investors, policymakers, CSR heads and other stakeholders, it opens up immense possibilities to forge connects and build long-term relationships within the ecosystem.
Apply for iPitch 2019
You can apply if you are a seed to Pre Series A for-profit social enterprise working in any of the following sectors:
- Agritech – Startups improving productivity in farming, providing market access to farmers, getting them better credit and insurance, and conserving water in agriculture
- Medtech – Disability; medical devices, and digital health platforms for diabetes, cancer, infectious diseases, and maternal & child healthcare
- Cleantech – focus on productive use of energy
- Livelihoods – focus on job creation
- Edtech, Skilling & Employability