Marico and Mahindra Finance to fund startups using CSR budget

Marico and Mahindra Finance to fund startups using CSR budget

Pune, India | Red Newswire | Dec 12, 2015 Last Updated at 06:30 PM IST.

Another good news for startups, Marico and Mahindra Finance are partnering with Villgro – the social venture fund. In another effort to support startups, the two firms will be using their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) budget. Under the new Companies Act Amendment, the CSR contributions can be made in the form of starting incubators for startups or funding.

Earlier,  a Villgro – accelerated startup Flybird had received Rs. 50 lakh investment from Mahindra Finance. The company also invested in social startups including Sickle Innovations (incubated by IIM-Ahmedabad) and Sustain Earth (incubated by Villgro itself).

Vinay Deshpande, CPO at Mahindra Finance said, "This time, we invested a higher amount than last year, as we had a positive experience with our previous two funding. As our business is largely connected to the rural population, we will be looking at more startups that are transforming rural lives to invest in.”

Flybird Innovations works in agro-sector and aims at build smart irrigation systems and fertilization. This being the first funding of the company, it looks forward to use the money in further expansion and reduction in the production cost so as to reach small farmers.

Marico Innovation Foundation has decided to invest in 4 teams shortlisted in the CAM Tech Diabetes Hackathon in partnership with Villgro. MIF will incubate the teams who are working on developing mass solutions helpful in detection, management and prevention of diabetes. Each one of these teams will get a seed funding worth Rs. 20 lakh. Villgro will also mentor these teams to convert their prototypes into low-cost solutions for diabetes management as told by founder of MIF, Harsh Mariwala.

PR Ganapathy, President of Villgro said that the organization is working towards leveraging the CSR budget to make big investments in social enterprises.

Ganapathy said, "Both Mahindra Finance and Marico have associated with us to fund our social startups through their CSR wing, and we feel this has a great potential to impact social enterprises.”

Villgro is also in talks with a Bengaluru IT company for similar CSR investments.

Source: ET Bureau