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Village Capital Offers $50K Investment to Two Indian “Financial Health” Startups Selected By Their Peers

Impact Micro Ventures and mPokket selected by their cohort of 11 early-stage fintech companies in investment-readiness program “Fintech India 2017”

Two early-stage financial health startups, Impact Micro Ventures and mPokket, were selected by peer entrepreneurs to receive offers of $50,000 in investment each, marking the completion of an India-focused investment-readiness program run by Village Capital, with support from PayPal, BlackRock and FMO. A total of 11 fintech startups completed in the three-month program. All 11 are building India-specific solutions to the country’s unique challenges around financial health.

The two startups were selected by their peers, in a process called peer-selected investment that puts the decision-making power of investments in the hands of entrepreneurs. Bangalore-based  Impact Micro Ventures uses big data to help unbanked micro-enterprises access financing and improve their cash flow.  Kolkata-based mPokket, provides micro-loans via a mobile app.

 The companies will receive offers of investment from VilCap Investments, a venture capital fund affiliated with Village Capital.

Village Capital’s India office has run 13 programs that have resulted in 13 seed-stage investments from Village Capital’s affiliated venture fund, VilCap Investments, LLC. The most recent fintech program ended  in 2017 and resulted in investments in Loans4SME and GumptionLabs.

Deepak Menon, Village Capital said, “Financial services in India are at an inflection point. Sometimes it seems like 'fintech' is restricted to those who already possess the means and mindset to leverage technology,” said Deepak Menon, Regional Director, Village Capital. “However, rising smartphone use and an increasing focus on unbanked individuals and small retailers have created opportunities for startups to innovate and fill important gaps. Village Capital is proud to be working with entrepreneurs who are building impactful and scalable businesses, steadily changing the landscape for financial services and products in India.”

Pranay Bhargava, Founder, Impact Micro Ventures said, "We have spent last five years in rural India while creating an alternative data model for MSME lending. We have had limited bandwidth to build partnerships and network.  It helped us realize that we are pioneering a niche market, and also gave us access to a globally renowned pool of investors and potential partners. The program has helped accelerate us towards our goal of reaching out to one million micro-enterprises by 2023."

Gaurav Jalan, Founder, mPokket added, "The Vilcap Fintech program was a great experience and I would recommend it to all entrepreneurs. The peer review framework is unique and helped us gain valuable feedback on our business and also build some great relationships."

The program consisted of three four-day workshops that took place from December through March in Bangalore and Mumbai. Village Capital programs are designed to help entrepreneurs sharpen their case for investment and feature:

Guidance through Village Capital’s VIRAL curriculum. Many entrepreneurs struggle to communicate their level of success to investors. Every entrepreneur received training on the VIRAL (Venture Investment Readiness Awareness Level) curriculum, which is designed to help entrepreneurs set and surpass specific milestones to make them competitive when raising capital.

Advice from investors, mentors and potential customers. Entrepreneurs spend more than 20 hours in “mock board meetings” and one-on-one sessions with investors, industry experts and potential customers (including PayPal employees and senior leaders) to get feedback on product design, regulatory challenges and potential partnerships.

Peer feedback: Village Capital programs incorporate an element of peer review - the top two entrepreneurs in each program, selected by their peers, receive offers of investment from VilCap Investments.

The startups that participated in the program can be found here.

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