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Edition 10 - August 2012

Artha August newsletter

Edition 10 - August 2012
A tremendous opportunity exists today to transform the face of investor/donor engagement with the vast, untapped markets at the base of the pyramid (BOP). The Artha Platform's mission is to help unlock this opportunity.
Table of Contents:

Case studies
Stats of interest
Recent investments
Investment opportunities
Platforms of interest
Tweet Corner
CEO -Sabras
SABRAS is a socially-responsible for-profit salt production enterprise. The company is working to improve the salt production supply chain, thereby empowering India’s salt workers in a financially viable way. The CEO will lead a new phase of expansion, working with the chairman and founder, Mr. Rajesh Shah.

Location: Ahmedabad, India
Contact: Interested candidates should write to by 28 August

Head of Operations - Project Dharma

Project Dharma is a path-breaking rural distribution start-up, which provides customized products and services to rural households. This senior level role will involve managing a pan-India product portfolio and a diverse set of stakeholder relationships.

Location: Delhi, India
Contact: Interested candidates should write to by 28 August.


Date: 1st - 4th Oct, 2012
Location: Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, USA

Join the world’s pioneering impact investors, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, civic leaders, and innovators at SOCAP '12. At SOCAP we create the intersections where you – with friends and valuable strangers – form partnerships and mobilize resources and capital for good.

Social Return on Investment
October 16th, 2012
Location: Thadomal Shahani Engineering College Campus, Mumbai, India

The SROI Network is holding a one day workshop to help funders and growing social purpose organisations learn more about the practical application of Social Return on Investment. The Asia Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) is a marketing partner for this event.   International interest in SROI is growing as an approach to account for and manage the social and environmental impact of an organisation’s work. Over the last couple of years a number of organisations have started to explore SROI in India. Read more...

EVPA Annual Conference
Date: November 13th-14th, 2012
Location: Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland

EVPA is happy to announce that registration for the 8th EVPA Annual Conference is now open. For access to the programme, pre-conference event, speakers, practical information, news and updates, please visit the EVPA  website
d to explore SROI in India.

Khemka Forum on Social Entrepreneurship

Date: December 7th-8th, 2012
Location: Indian School of Business, Hyderabad

Participation in the Khemka Forum is by ‘invitation only’. If you are working in the field and are committed to advancing innovative and sustainable social solutions and would like to attend the Forum, please kindly fill in this online form.  For more information, please click here
The Asian Leadership Awards is all about Achievers, Super Achievers and Future Business Leaders. This glamorous event will attract the 'best of the best' from Asia. This event will highlight, recognize and reward the ability of entrepreneurs to steer their businesses through turbulent times, applying the best of business models to manage and keep their missions afloat. Read more...

The World of Children Award program was created to recognize and elevate those selfless individuals who make a difference in the lives of children, regardless of political, religious or geographical boundaries. These courageous leaders recognize that our children are the world's most important asset. Their stories are heroic.

The World of Children Award provides funding and recognition to support life-changing work for children. By discovering and elevating only the most effective changemakers for children worldwide, we set the gold standard in child advocacy.

Potable Water Solutions for Slum-Dwellers
During the peak summer months, major Indian cities experience severe water shortages. The per-capita availability of water has fallen from 5,177 cubic meters in 1951 to 1,544 cubic meters in 2011. Despite the rainfall during the monsoon months, India has not done enough to conserve water for “off-season,” or dry season, usage. Where middle-income developing nations like China and Mexico have built large water storage facilities that store, on average, 1,000 cubic meters per capita, India’s per-capita storage is no more than 200 cubic meters. Click here to read more.

Omidyar network boost for strategic philanthropy in India
Global impact investor, Omidyar Network (ON) has awarded a grant of  US$2 million, over the next three years to Dasra- India’s leading strategic philanthropic foundation. ON’s grant is the single largest of its kind that Dasra has received till date. This infusion will support 25% of Dasra’s operating costs and will be crucial in building a second-rung leadership team at Dasra to drive the organisation's ambitious growth plan. Dasra has successfully brought Manas Ratha as Director for its Dasra Social- Impact and Portfolio services. The organization is hoping to bring in Directors to lead its other initiatives as well.

Mallika Singh, Principal-investments, and Karthik Mahalingam, Director-legal, at Omidyar Network have been inducted as members of Dasra's Board of Directors. Over the last 13 years, Dasra has brought together 200 philanthropists and over 500 social organisations to channel INR 680 million (US$12.28 million) into impactful social interventions in India. Dasra's efforts in creating an environment focused on generating massive social change by connecting philanthropists with social entrepreneurs is unique and aligned to ON’s vision. The funding will significantly scale Dasra’s initiatives to strategically change the social landscape in India and impact millions of lives. For further information, please email

Welcome to the 10th Artha Newsletter!
The Artha Team has had a busy summer working on making introductions for entrepreneurs to our investor community - and to pushing forward on the technical development process that we hope will improve our user experience for all those who have joined our network. We are also working with our partners at Ennovent to create a user type that will better cater to the needs of 'groups' online, and look forward to creating a more dynamic system that will be fully deployed by December of this year. We continue to aim to provide a space for safe information exchange for famliy offices, social venture capital funds, venture philanthropists, foundations, DFIs, entrepreneur support organisations and individuals who operate in this niche arena, and who share a collective focus on maximizing both social impact and financial return in India.We are also working on providing a series of functions that will allow for full IRIS compliance within both the company snapshot/profile of all enterprises featured on our pipeline, as well as for investors who seek to apply IRIS-defined variables to their social impact due diligence.
Sustainability : A New Rainforest Alliance report analyzes the financing needs of sustainable supply chains
Farming is under pressure globally—from climate change, water scarcity, soil erosion—as well as from increasing demand caused by a growing and more affluent population. In response, the past few years have seen an explosion of demand for sustainably farmed products by consumer goods brands such as Kraft, Mars, Unilever and Caribou Coffee and retailers such as Whole Foods, Walmart, and Marks and Spencer who are trying to reduce risk in their supply chains – meaning that farmers must increasingly embrace and implement sustainable practices. Read more..

India lacks strong culture of philanthropy: Jeff Raikes, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The $33.5 billion dollar Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is constantly exploring innovative ways to tackle challenges in global healthcare, sanitation, poverty, education and agriculture. These include bringing in business techniques to problem solving, partnering with global corporations for low-cost solutions and funding R&D in areas of neglected diseases such as tuberculosis. Read more...

The Brin Wojcicki Foundation $1Million Challenge
The Brin Wojcicki Foundation will match donations to Ashoka on a dollar-to-dollar basis up to $1,000,000 from now through August 31st, 2012. Read more...

The word 'scale' is changing social entrepreneurship
Change is good, and all the more so if it is brought out by choice rather than by force.  It should also be progressive.  But some posit that social entrepreneurs in India dread change, due to a scarcity of funds that appears to reinforce a culture of resistance.

As an example, Anup Akkihal, an MIT graduate who designed the supply chain model for the US Army and returned to India in 2009 to start a company called Logistimo, engaged in developing basic software for inventory and supply chain management for low-end phones. Read more...

Charting the Change from BPO to BoP: Training the Next Generation of Skilled Labor in India
Before the services industry boom, the choices young graduates in India were very limited. One had to be an engineer or doctor to even think of getting into a decent salary league, much less a high-paying salary league.

No one can deny that the business process outsourcing (BPO) boom has been a game changer, as the services industry empowers a vast middle class with the kinds of career options that young India has long desired. For new BPO workers, the boom raises awareness about globalization, while endowing youn people with the ability to both spend and to save. The phenomena directly reflects India’s GDP growth in the last 20 years. Read more...

The Deal Flow Session at TiEcon Delhi 2012 will provide a one-stop platform for high potential entrepreneurs to present their business plans to some of the leading national and international investors to meet their funding objectives.
Investors present at the deal flow session will be an ideal mix of prominent angel investors and leading Venture Capital firms keenly interested in investing in high potential businesses. Over the years, the deal flow sessions at TiEcon have attracted a host of prominent Venture Capital Firms, Private Equity Players, Angel Investor Groups and High Net Worth Individuals. Please click here read more.

WWF Switzerland - Tropical Forest Challenge Find the best for-profit enterprises with a positive impact on tropical forests! WWF Switzerland is committed to conserve the world's tropical forests, not only for the incredible wealth of biodiversity, but also for the benefit of people. The objective of the Tropical Forest Challenge is to discover the most innovative for-profit enterprises from around the world that have a positive impact on tropical forest biodiversity.

Selection Criteria: Please read detailed selection criteria here.

Categories: One winner out of five finalists will be selected in each of the following categories:

  • Idea (Concept note): A full concept note describing the solution
  • Startup (Proof-of-market): A successful  solution tested with potential customers
  • Company (Break-even): Sufficient revenue streams from sales to cover all costsClick here to read more

Please click here to read more.

The Dishaa Advisory Group was launched by British Prime Minister David Cameron in July 2010 in Bangalore, and is a venture that has been designed to expand, enrich and energise relations between India and the UK. The Dishaa Advisory Group, consisting of experienced and successful leaders from both countries, will identify a compelling challenge each year that is common to the UK and India.
Each year for five years, 40 leaders (20 from the UK and 20 from India) will gather for four days - either in India or the UK - to address this challenge; people specifically in the mid to senior stages of their career with a significant track record of leadership and success in their fields and professions will be targeted.  The first of these will take place October 1-5th in Mysore and Common Purpose invites applications from future leaders from all backgrounds and sectors to participate. Please read here for more information or contact David O'Connor from Common Purpose.

Edge is powered by Potencia Ventures, a global organization that takes an ecosystem-based approach to developing business for the 'base of the pyramid' in emerging markets. Edge was launched to attract, develop and retain talent in the ecosystem for business that serves low-income clients. Players in this field currently direct lots of energy towards making for-profit investments in established businesses. But more energy could be spent on developing the pipeline for future businesses, especially by developing talent in emerging markets. Although talent is repeatedly flagged as a key issue by management teams around the world, few local ecosystems have been able to solve this systemic challenge.

The Edge believes that hand-picked young professionals who first learn about the field and then gain experience abroad in relevant markets can subsequently help build more appropriate, ambitious business models in their own regions. This can be achieved by combining their global skills and network with insider knowledge of local cultures to achieve unprecedented successes for improving low income people's lives through business. To Learn more, please visit

Mera Gao Micro Grid Power
Mera Gao Micro Grid Power (MGP) builds, owns, and operates solar powered micro grid utilities which provide nighttime lighting and mobile phone charging to off-grid households in Uttar Pradesh, India. MGP customers pay Rs. 25 per week for two high luminosity lights and one mobile phone charger which run for 7 hours a night; this represents a significant improvement in service for the same or lower monthly cost to our customers compared to kerosene and local mobile phone charging services. A facility for a 100 household village costs under Rs. 1.2 lakh and has a projected repayment period of under 2 years.  Please see the Artha pipeline for more information...

Himjoli, which means Friend in the Land of Ice, is a social venture company that works with producer groups based in Kumaon, a mountain region in the state of Uttarakhand. Himjoli’s mission is to reduce migration to cities by creating sustainable jobs in the villages. We are looking for investment for setting up 5 new tourist shops in Uttaranchal. Investment per shop is Rs.2 lacs so Rs.10 lacs for 5 shops.Please see the Artha pipeline for more information.

MyMela creates sustainable international demand for artisans globally through a vibrant, interactive online marketplace, a crowdfunding platform and a robust and diverse retail presence. Traditional artisan communities worldwide lack fair access to the growing international community of eco and socially conscious shoppers. They curate the best, most authentic artisan products and presents them to a global audience of shoppers, online and in stores. Please see the Artha pipeline for more information..
Catalytic Philanthropy vs. Charity
At least 840 million people - the majority of them poor - do not have access to water around the world. Tensions between countries such as India and China over water resources has increased in recent years as both populations and economies grow and water resources are stressed.   There are thousands of charity organizations dedicated to solving the problem of water access around the world, but charity may not be the best way to solve the crisis of water accessibility and prevent it from becoming a next global security threat. Read more...

Test-driving the "World's Cheapest Computer"
Euphoria over a cheap tablet with a “Made in India” label grew after the Human Resources Development Ministry unveiled the Aakash in October 2011. But unresolved issues among various parties involved in the project seemed to have derailed it. Now it seems to be back on track.   Dozens of the new tablets are being field-tested now by teachers across India. A commercial version, known as “UbiSlate,” is being made by the same manufacturer behind the Aakash-2 and is expected to be on the market soon.  Read more...

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