Disha Medical Services
Drishti-Eye Centre brings comprehensive eye care to those in underserved geographies through a mix of hospitals, vision centers, and mobile eye clinics.
Eye Surgeries Conducted+4800
Sustainable Models: Securing Follow-on Capital
While 72% of India lives in rural areas, more than 90% of all Ophthalmologists operate in urban areas. Promoters Kiran and Anjali are well attuned to this gap, creating a model specific to these under-supplied markets by providing quality eye care at a low cost. Lok's investment in December 2012 allowed Drishti to validate it's model, scaling from one hospital to three hospitals and three vision centres. In June 2016, Drishti's hub and spoke model and the strategic use of mobile eye clinics to both treat and transfer rural patients to hospitals caught the eye of hailed angel investor Nandan Nilekani. By securing a follow-on investment of Drishti not only validated the sustainability behind their model and processes but will also have the capability to improve the working life-span of thousands of patients who lack access to eyecare.
I am very selective in making investments and I like Drishti's approach and believe that the co-founders Kiran and Anjali have their heart in the right place, and want to build a sustainable business with hign impact.
- Nandan Nilekani, (Former CEO, Infosys)
India lags behind global averages and other low-middle income countries in terms of basic health indicators and public expenditure on health, at 1.3% of GDP, is among the lowest in the world. All of this adds up to a huge shortfall in infrastructure and HR for health, which has a direct impact on quality of care. Additionally, only 20% of population is covered by social or commercial insurance making affordability of healthcare services a critical issue for most of the Indian population. Lok's impact framework for healthcare centers around supporting business models that address key gaps in healthcare delivery by creating access in underserved regions and providing high-quality clinical services in an affordable manner that does not preclude participation by low income households.
Small Finance Bank
Utkarsh Small Finance
Originally an MFI, Utkarsh is a Small Finance Bank focused on customers in North and North Central India.
Borrowers+ 1.1 MN
Clients First: Providing Access to Capital
As one of the first ten institutions awarded an SFB license by RBI in 2015, Utkarsh is paving the way for providing access to capital for customers living in what are considered "difficult geographies" by traditional banks. By also targeting MSMEs, at loan sizes too low for mainstream banks (below 25 lacs), Utkarsh is able to bring tens of thousands of small businesses into the fold of financial inclusion. Utkarsh currently operates in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, National Capital Region, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Haryana and will be able to expand their reach, adding 125 new branches, with the launch of the SFB operations.
Even today, there are hundreds of villages around Varanasi, where Utkarsh is headquartered, microfinance institutions are not going, and that is the case in most parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which are our core geographies.
- Govind Singh, Founder
Small Finance Banks
There is an acute need for access to financial services in India due to the high cost of last mile delivery and a limited understanding of the low-income segment among scheduled commercial banks. Traditional microfinance institutions receiving small finance bank licenses have the unique ability to address these challenges given their track-record and existing operations in servicing precisely these customers. Additionally, the small finance bank model is specifically designed to accelerate financial inclusion as 75% of the book must go towards priority sector lending and 50% of the advances book must be set aside for micro enterprises as defined by the Reserve Bank of India. Lok is uniquely positioned to drive impact in this space after overseeing the successful application and conversion of five microfinance companies from its portfolio.
Veritas provides SME financing loans (working capital, business expansion, asset creation) to micro and small businesses throughout Tamil Nadu.
Women Entrepreneurs Supported270+
Locations Within Tamil Nadu17
Leveraging Experience & Insights
Founder of Veritas, D Arulmany, brings a deep understanding of the MSME lending space to the table having spent more than two decades in the financial services industry and building Aptus Housing from a mere idea to formidable player in the affordable housing finance segment. Arul's nuanced understanding of the target segment enable strong operational insights to address the key challenges of small business lending: assessing earning capacity and the intention to repay among a customer base that is over 90% made up of those who do not currently have access to formal borrowing. Additionally, at the time of Lok's seed stage investment, Arul had filled all CXO positions with leading professionals of 10+ years experience in their respective fields, pointing to Arul's leadership and ability to forge strong relationships.
Arul has deep and extensive experience in the financial services space, demonstrated success in scaling a start-up, and vision to create an impactful and differentiated business. We are proud to partner with him.
- Priyamvada Ramkumar (Vice President, Lok Capital)
MSMEs (Micro and Small to Medium Enterprises) in India employ approximately 69 million people and with over 50% located in rural areas, they are catalysts for the socio-economic transformation of the country. The sector represents a vital part of the economy, in terms of industrial output, exports and contribution to GDP. MSMEs today deal with poor support infrastructure, inadequate market linkages, lack of adequate and timely financing sources and end up relying overwhelmingly on informal sources of lending. By investing in companies like Vistaar and now Veritas that provide this support and most importantly safe and timely financing, Lok promotes organization of a sector that is critical in meeting national objectives of generating employment, improving livelihoods, and reducing rural-urban migration.
Innovative Wholesale Finance
IFMR aims to provide complete access to financial services in remote rural India.
Number of Jobs Supported1187
Number of Underserved Customers333,429
Number of Lives Touched1.67 MN
Sustainable Models: Product Diversification
IFMR runs the KGFS model, otherwise known as Regional Rural Financial Services, a delivery model that leverages physical infrastructure, local community ties, tight geographical focus, innovations in technology, and a unique wealth management approach to offer a complete range of products and services in rural India. In June of this year, initial conclusions from a first of its kind formal randomized control trial looking at KGFS, conducted jointly by Harvard and Duke University and surveying 19,000 households over time, found that households engaging with IFMR availed themselves, on average of eight products or services over a three year period. This in turn supports the conclusion that the diversified product strategy has led to the recorded 20% decrease of borrowing from informal sectors i.e. moneylenders by 20%. In March 2016, IFMR Holdings received an investment from Proparco that will allow them to increase the depth of their offerings and impact to base consumers.
Here [rural channels] we would penetrate deeper into each household, by offering 6-7 financial products like insurance and pension, along with micro-credit. The strategic plan now is to improve the non-loan portfolio" (Regarding 2016 Proparco investment)
- Sucharita Mukherjee, CEO IFMR Holdings
Innovative Wholesale Financing
Portfolio companies such as IFMR and MAS Financial Services play a critical role in the growth and evolution of the microfinance and larger financial inclusion space in India by offering a slew of retail and wholesale credit products to microfinance borrowers and the institutions themselves. Following the Andhra crisis, MAS was one of the few lenders actively supporting the microfinance space, thereby enabling the coming-of-age occurring now with the influx of small finance banks. Today, MAS is one of the first debt providers to NBFCs who are adopting innovative business models. As an early investor, MAS provides comfort to banks to lend to these NBFCs and further validates the funding options they make available to underbanked populations. IFMR similarly leads the charge in offering a holistic set of financial products to the households served, recognizing the importance of insurance products and wealth management services to achieve transformational change.
Siddhivinayak Agri Processing Pvt Ltd
SV Agri bridges supply chain gaps between potato farmers and the food processing sector.
Number of Active Farmers1500+
Number of Franchises105
Operations Across7 states
Clients First: Farmers as Shareholders
SV Agri operates first and foremost for the small farmer, providing high quality seeds that enable farmers to earn premiums on their potato yields and simultaneously lower the chance for exploitation. Uniquely, farmers who sowed SV Agri's seeds were granted with equity in the company. Additionally, SV Agri provides vertical alignment across the potato supply chain through offering trainings and physical machinery to processors to increase efficiency and hence their bottom lines as well. SV Agri's deep farmer engagement and demonstrated commitment to stakeholders throughout the end-to-end supply chain directly embodies Lok's investing values.
We have a lot of opportunities to introduce good variety seeds to farmers. I was lucky to have been backed by farmers who were ready to trust me with their produce.
- Hemant Gaur, Founder and Director
Widespread inefficiencies throughout the agriculture value chains in India negatively affect both farmers and retailers. In some cases, opaque and complex supply chains lead to farmer realizations as low as one-third of the price paid by the consumer. While the farmer operates at the bottom of the chain with little bargaining power, the retailer, mostly mom-and-pop shops, is incredibly fragmented and dependent on informal financing sources. To combat these gaps, Lok actively invests in scalable agriculture enterprises such as SV Agri that seek to bring efficiency to a supply chain through direct engagement that ultimately lowers costs and/or brings about an increase in yields and realizations for farmers.