Bengaluru: Impact investor Unitus Ventures (formerly called Unitus Seed Fund) has raised Rs 100 crore towards the first close of its Rs 300 crore second fund, from prominent investors including the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

The fund plans to invest Rs 5-15 crore each in 25-30 early stage startups in healthcare, education, and inclusive fintech.

“The opportunity to bring together private capital and market-based principles for social change is significant,” said Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, in a statement. “I’m optimistic about the growth prospects in India and am pleased to invest again with Unitus.”

Founded in September 2012 by Dave Richards, Will Poole, and Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Unitus Ventures closed its first fund in 2013 at Rs 140 crore and made 23 investments in sectors including healthcare, education, technology, and e-commerce.

“With less than 10% of early stage VC funding going to healthcare and education, there is scarcity of capital for good companies in these sectors. We are one of very few investors who have dedicated majority of their funds towards these sectors that are so critical for the growth and health of India,” said Will Poole, co-founder and managing partner at Unitus Ventures.

The fund has begun returning capital to investors from secondary (one investor buys another investor’s stake) exits in Cuemath and two other acquisitions. Overall, Unitus Ventures’ 14 active investees have directly impacted over 1.2 million low-income lives across 21 states in India, with 102% growth in 2017.

“We’ve had a good run with our first fund and are now raising twice as much to invest in entrepreneurs and teams that are creatively tackling some of India’s unique challenges in healthcare, education and access to finance,” said Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, partner, Unitus Ventures. “We’re putting more capital to work with larger initial and follow-on investments and bringing to bear our networks to help founders succeed.”

With its new investment strategy, Unitus Ventures is betting that India is an archetype for global emerging markets and once established, select portfolio companies can expand to emerging markets in South East Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Among Unitus’ investees who have successfully expanded into international markets are UE Life Sciences, whose iBreastExam product provides affordable breast cancer screening services across emerging markets through its partnership with GE; GoCoop, India’s largest online marketplace for handlooms and handicrafts that services a number of global B2B buyers; Utter, a mobile platform delivering English and workplace skills training in India as well as via mobile operators in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Kuwait, and Qatar; and Hippocampus, affordable quality kindergarten centres for rural India, now operating in rural Mexico as well.

Unitus Ventures has already made six investments from its second fund.

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