The Norwegian Microfinance Initiative (NMI) and Utkarsh Micro Finance Pvt Ltd (Utkarsh) announced that the NMI Frontier Fund KS had led an Rs 25 Crore (250 Million) Series B investment in Utkarsh. A registered Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC), Utkarsh currently operates in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
It has 56 branches, over 57,000 active clients and a loan portfolio of Rs 41 Crores (410 Million). Aavishkaar Goodwell (AG), an existing investor in the MFI also participated in this Series B round of investment in the company. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is also an existing investor in Utkarsh and has been supporting the firm since March 2010.
“The investment of INR 250 mn is going to boost our growth plans. It has come at the right time as the sector has started growing once again. It is also noteworthy that our existing investors AG are participating in this round, strongly indicating their confidence in the sector and in Utkarsh. We’re also very grateful for IFC’s continued support. said Govind Singh, MD and CEO, Utkarsh.
Norwegian Microfinance Initiative
“We are very pleased to invest with Utkarsh and to be part of the important work that the Company is doing toward financial inclusion in northern India. NMI was particularly attracted by Utkarsh’s commitment to serving the poor in areas of India characterized by high population, high incidence of poverty, and very low financial inclusion. The potential for well-run MFIs like Utkarsh to make an impact in this region is tremendous, and we believe Utkarsh has the professionalism and commitment required to make a difference and to achieve the joint mission of Utkarsh and NMI on financial inclusion, This investment is also an attractive complement to NMI’s other activities in India,” said Henning Haugerudbråten, Investment Director, NMI Frontier Fund.
Intellecap was the sole advisor for this transaction. Anurag Agrawal, Co-Founder Intellecap, and Senior Vice President of the Investment Banking arm said, ” Utkarsh is doing some great work in promoting financial inclusion among low income communities, and Intellecap is very happy to have played a role in their mission. This investment by NMI in Utkarsh is a reinforcement of our belief that, in spite of all that has happened over the last year or so in the microfinance sector, there is still a fundamental business proposition for microfinance in India and informed global investors are willing to commit significant capital to quality institutions who are doing good work on the ground to serve the large unmet demand for microfinance services.