Aavishkaar: An innovator in early-stage investing
The name of our organization – Aavishkaar -means ‘invention’ in Hindi. Founded in 2001, with a vision to catalyse development in India’s underserved regions, it identifies capable entrepreneurs, provides them with capital, supplements it with a nurturing environment and helps build sustainable enterprises.
Aavishkaar’s big innovation is the adoption of venture capital methodology to serve the low_income market segment by creating scalable enterprises. Aavishkaar’s founding team faced the challenge of modifying the investing methodology followed in the Silicon Valley. Funding in the Valley typically focused on new technologies and breakthroughs in intellectual property. Back home, Aavishkaar had to adapt it to brick and mortar, investing in hinterland and rural geographies with a target clientele that had a tiny wallet. At the same time, reasonable returns had to be delivered to investors. This meant that Aavishkaar with its limited capital and resources had to find a large number of start_up companies scattered across underdeveloped regions and then invest small amounts of capital in them.
To adapt to this reality, Aavishkaar brought in 3 key innovations to venture capital investing:
- Moving the investment risk from technology and product innovation to innovation in execution. This allowed us to focus on the needs of the people. This also increased our success ratio at the enterprise-level, despite the perceived high-risk of early_stage investing and geographical dispersion.
- Redefining the parameters of blockbuster success -a return of 5 to 10 times of invested capital, instead of a return of 100 times.
- Identifying young and experienced investment managers driven by passion, social recognition and fulfilment in work, remunerating them in an equitable and non_hierarchical manner, thus building a large team with limited fee, and no grant support.
Aavishkaar is driven by the belief that an ‘enterprise _based development approach can enhance livelihoods and reduce vulnerabilities for the low-income population. Fortified with all these, Aavishkaar has moved on the path of investing in enterprises that gainfully engage rural and economically - weak populations either as producers, users or owners to deliver commercial returns. At the same time, significant developmental returns have been brought about.
Over the last decade, Aavishkaar has established a successful track record with over US$ 155 million under management and a diverse portfolio of high – impact businesses at various levels of growth. This spans a range of sectors, namely agriculture, dairy, education, energy, handicrafts, health, water and sanitation, technology for development, microfinance and financial inclusion.
Over the years, we have matured as an organization and recognized our strengths, regarding our work in India. We have also started to look at other emerging economies around the world as the next logical focus area for Aavishkaar. As part of its growth plans, Aavishkaar has launched its first international foray with the Aavishkaar Frontier Fund, dedicated to taking the Aavishkaar model of investing to neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Our 10-year goal is to invest in 300 start-up companies across emerging economies with significant low_income populations, nurture latent local entrepreneurial talent, and promote enterprise_based development in these countries, thus helping them achieve sustainable and equitable economic growth. To achieve these goals, Aavishkaar aims to raise US$1.0 billion over the next ten years.
Vision & Mission
Aavishkaar's vision is to catalyze equitable development globally by supporting entrepreneurial intervention through provision of risk capital.
Aavishkaar's mission is to evolve an approach to investing that nurture entrepreneurs in building enterprises that can generate commercial returns while serving humanity sustainably.
Aavishkaar means Invention in Hindi and we set Aavishkaar up to nurture and scale sustainable green businesses. Bulb as logo presents one of the best inventions mankind has seen and thus symbolises our values and aspirations. The filament represents the ecosystem that provides the nurturing aspect of Aavishkaar and its investee ethos. The green around the bulb represent our thesis of investing in green businesses and the rays of the bulb represent our desire to disseminate the innovation, our social and environmental consciousness and the spread of our warmth without any inhibition. We nurture enterprises with the hope to nurture humanity in turn and with the desire to spread the idea of inclusion and sustainability. The colourful logo in its vertical orientation represents our unconventional approach and rainbow style investing which is sector agnostic.
Aavishkaar has a three pronged strategy to achieve its vision and mission. Our three pronged strategy aims to:
Identify and support entrepreneurs through provision of capital at various stages of growth through what is now known is Sow, Tend and Reap Strategy.
Build an ecosystem in the country of its operation that galvanizes the movement of incubation, innovation, exploration and nurturing of entrepreneurs to attract mainstream and commercial capital in its companies.
Generate responsible exits at an appropriate time from these highly scalable and impactful businesses and provide commercial return to its investors.