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IntelleGrow raises INR 100 million from Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

IntelleGrow, a venture debt financing company for small and medium social enterprises has raised INR 100 million in Series A funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. To date, IntelleGrow has disbursed 20 loans totaling INR 150 million to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across India – from sectors such as waste water recycling, clean energy solutions, low cost irrigation, rural healthcare, rural electrification and non-credit financial inclusion among others. IntelleGrow is promoted by Intellecap which has been actively building an eco-system to support the growth of impact focused businesses over the last decade.

A registered Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC), IntelleGrow provides venture debt and skills support to impact focused small and medium enterprises in India. A 2012 report by IFC and Intellecap showed that one of the biggest challenges faced by the SME sector is the availability of adequate and timely finance. Despite the key economic role SMEs play, including a contribution of almost 22% to the GDP of India (35% to the manufacturing output and 40% to the exports), over 37% of the overall debt demand from SMEs cannot be serviced by existing financial institutions. Most formal lenders typically engage in traditional collateral-based lending to enterprises operating in established industries and require at least three years of profitable track record. IntelleGrow’s pioneering model addresses these gaps by providing viability-based debt financing to fast growing early-stage enterprises with a turnover of less than INR 500 million and at least 12 months of track record. It provides customised financing solutions using flexible repayment schedules linked to cash flows.

IntelleGrow is actively hiring for a range of positions at its Mumbai offices.

Commenting on the investment, Mr. Debasish Mitter, Country Director - India at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation said, “We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with IntelleGrow. We share their goal of helping market-based start-ups focused on providing services to the underprivileged, particularly in our foundation’s mission-related areas of education, health and family economic stability. By making appropriate debt financing accessible, IntelleGrow will be addressing a very critical gap that exists today for many start-ups to obtain the capital necessary for fuelling growth and achieving scale.”

Mr. Simon Desjardins, Programme Manager at Shell Foundation (which was involved in the creation of the company) said, “IntelleGrow is validating that many un-banked small businesses can be served through a new viability-based approach to lending. Through its lending activities, IntelleGrow helps pioneering enterprises in key sectors to scale up and deliver social and economic impact in India. We are delighted to be working with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to help build IntelleGrow into a national benchmark in small business lending.”

Mr. Sanjib Jha, CEO of IntelleGrow said, “Businesses in their early stages need debt at the right time to sustain and create value. Our offering in form of venture debt creates value for promoters and investors and helps multiply the social impact. Our uniqueness lies in our ‘more than money approach’ to lending and our approach to customized product design, viability-based lending products, faster processing times, and dedicated business development support. Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s investment would allow us to take the spirit of innovation that we inherited from our parent entity Intellecap and nurtured by the strong support of Shell Foundation to build an INR 2500 Million portfolio by 2015”.

Anurag Agarwal, Cofounder of Intellecap and Board Member of Intellegrow welcomed the investment by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and said, “The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has a patient and long term investing approach, which complements and supports the pioneering spirit of the venture debt offering of Intellegrow. At Intellecap we have advocated an “ecosystem based approach” to development, and we believe IntelleGrow is fulfilling a critical ecosystem gap in early stage impact enterprises.

IntelleGrow

IntelleGrow is a registered NBFC founded by Intellecap with support from Shell Foundation. IntelleGrow provides loans to young and emerging companies and seeks to pioneer venture debt financing in India. This segment of the financial services market is largely overlooked by banks and other formal sector lenders. IntelleGrow plans to provide skill enhancement and capacity building services to its Clients, along the lines of a successful model developed by Shell Foundation in Africa.

Intellecap

Intellecap is a pioneer in providing innovative business solutions that help build and scale profitable and sustainable enterprises dedicated to social and environmental change. The company's unique positioning at the intersection of social and commercial business sectors allows it to attract and nurture intellectual capital that combines the business training of the commercial world with the passion and commitment of the social world to shape distinctive solutions. Intellecap was founded in 2002 and has more than 100 employees. Intellecap has worked with more than 60 clients on over 250 engagements across 15 countries.

Michael & Susan Dell Foundation 

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is a private family foundation dedicated to improving the lives of children living in urban poverty through better health and education. With offices in United States, India, and South Africa, the Dell family foundation funds programs that foster high-quality public education and childhood health, and improve the economic stability of families living in poverty. The foundation has committed more than $915 million to global children's issues and community initiatives to date.

Shell Foundation

Shell Foundation is an independent charity that applies business thinking to tackle global development challenges. It focuses on job creation by small enterprises, enabling access to energy services and products, improving urban mobility and enhancing the sustainability of global supply chains. Established in 2000, Shell Foundation tackles social and environmental challenges at scale by identifying gaps in markets and building long-term partnerships with social enterprises to serve them. It supports the development of business skills, provides grant funding and connects these partners with markets to help achieve large-scale impact and financial viability.