Enabling crowd funding in Asia comes with its own set of challenges and Milaap has shown good traction early on.
Singapore, Singapore (PRWEB) July 03, 2013
Milaap Social Ventures, South Asia’s leading, impact-focussed fundraising platform today announced it has raised an additional $1.1 million USD in venture funding to invest in development of the platform and scale up its operations.
The round was led by Singapore based Jungle Ventures, an early stage investment firm and an approved technology incubator under the Singapore National Research Foundation’s Technology Incubation Scheme. Other Investors included Toivo Annus (Co-founder & former Head of Engg., Skype), Lionrock Capital (a Singapore based family investment office), Jayesh Parekh (Co-Founder, Sony Entertainment Television) as well as existing investor, Unitus Seed Fund.
Hari Kumar, Partner, Lion Rock Capital and Jayesh Parekh, Managing Partner, Jungle Ventures and previously Board member of Song Investment Management Company (a fund owned by Soros Economic Development Fund, Omidyar Network and Google) have joined the Board with this investment. Prior to this investment, Milaap raised $250,000 USD in seed investments from Unitus Seed Fund, First Light Ventures, Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Founder, One97) and Rajiv Madhok (Founder, Oorja).
The current round of funds will be utilized to expand engineering and marketing investments for enhancing the online product experience, and to invest in scaling up marketing and outreach efforts.
Milaap is targeting the more than 480 million Indians mostly living in the rural and semi-urban areas and who are outside of the formal banking system. Less than 5% of them are able to procure reasonably priced, life-improving loans for their small businesses, vocational training, or other essential household assets.
Milaap bridges this gap from two directions. Milaap works with carefully vetted, credible grass-root organisations across India to share the specific individual lending needs in their communities - be it a student in Rajasthan, an artisan in Manipur, or family in need of clean water in Tamil Nadu.
These specific needs are then published on Milaap’s online fundraising platform which enables individuals, companies, and interest groups to take meaningful action by giving loans to them, sharing their stories and starting campaigns to mobilize more funds through their social networks. Lenders are able to track specific progress of the loan from initial funding to repayment and impact made.
To date, Milaap has raised over US$800,000 in loans impacting over 25,000 lives across 10 states in India, for a range of needs such as better school infrastructure, employment-linked training for the youth, seed capital for small businesses, access to clean water & sanitation, and safe lighting for families.
"Asia has the largest pool of people who do not have access to traditional banking systems. We are tapping on the long tail of the internet and disrupting how people – either individually or through their activated social networks can raise and provide capital to the millions who are unbanked," said Sourabh Sharma, CEO & Co-founder of the company.
Jayesh Parekh, Managing Partner of Jungle Ventures which led this investment round said, "I have known the founding team of Milaap for the past few years. They are passionate entrepreneurs and they seem to have good execution capabilities. Enabling crowd funding in Asia comes with its own set of challenges and they have shown good traction early on. I believe Milaap has the potential to build a compassionate community where millions of Internet users come together to create sustainable and long term impact."
Milaap Social Ventures (better known as Milaap.org) is an impact fundraising platform, changing the way people fund and impact communities in need. Started in June 2010 by three young passionate entrepreneurs, Milaap enables flow of crowd sourced capital to hardworking borrowers to start small businesses, pay for their education & training, install better facilities in their households, and more. As a lender, 100% of your funds go to the end borrowers, and you have the ability to transparently track repayments and the impact created.
About Jungle Ventures:
Jungle Ventures is Singapore native, global venture capital firm. It makes early stage investments in startups from Singapore, India and other Asian hotbeds of innovation. It also invests in startups from other geographies with a view to accelerate their Asia Pacific market focus. Jungle’s portfolio includes companies like DocDoc, ekstop.com, travelmob, Mobikon Technologies, Sconce Solutions, Ebus.tv and One Animation.
For more information, visit http://www.jungle-ventures.com
About the National Research Foundation
The National Research Foundation (NRF) (http://www.nrf.gov.sg) is a department within the Prime Minister's Office, Singapore. The NRF sets the national direction for research and development (R&D) by developing national policies, plans and strategies for research, innovation and enterprise in Singapore. In addition, the NRF funds strategic initiatives – such the Technology Incubation Scheme - to build up Singapore’s R&D capability, develop research talent, and nurture a culture for innovation and entrepreneurship.