New Delhi: Odisha-based Annapurna Finance today announced its third capital raise within the year of $35 million (INR 260 Cr) from Encourage Capital, Accion and existing investor Oikocredit. This is the third capital raise by Annapurna in 2021, after attracting a $30 million investment from Nuveen Global Impact Fund in March 2021 and a $20 million from DEG in November 2021, bringing the total investment to $85 million this year.
Annapurna Finance, with a pan India rural distribution network and its multi-product strategy, offers micro credit loans, home improvement, and MSME loans to individuals and small businesses. As part of its larger vision Annapurna is adding Green Finance products to its offering and is also advancing on its digital transformation journey.
Annapurna Finance is working towards transforming itself into a fully digital financial services entity with the help of Accion’s investment and advisory services. This focus on digital strategy will further boost the financial inclusion objectives of Annapurna by increasing the speed and convenience of the distribution of its products through digital channels and providing access to women borrowers in rural India, bringing them into the formal financial ecosystem.
The investment from Encourage Capital will help Annapurna to initiate its Green Finance products. Expertise from Encourage Capital will be utilized to launch clean and sustainable energy financing products to small businesses and individuals.
This will be Oikocredit’s fourth equity investment in Annapurna Finance since its first equity investment in 2016 and first debt investment in 2010, demonstrating Oikocredit’s confidence in the Annapurna team. Oikocredit has played a vital role over the years in the growth of the company and its ability to create higher social impact.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Gobinda Chandra Pattnaik, Managing Director, Annapurna Finance, said: “Set up with a focus of bringing economically weaker sections of society into the mainstream by providing need-based financial services, Annapurna’s vision will be further emboldened by this round of investment. These investments will help us further the cause by providing easier credit access through a scalable digital framework and allowing us to enter into clean energy lending.”
Mr. Michael Schlein, President and CEO, Accion, said: “We are very excited to partner with Annapurna and support them in their digital transformation journey. Our investment and advisory support will help the company in accelerating digital inclusion and serving un(der) served rural customers in India.”
Mr. Tarun Arora, Encourage Capital, said: “We are proud to become a partner in Annapurna’s journey to become a diversified lending institution and are excited to work with them to promote clean energy finance for micro and small entrepreneurs in underserved regions of India. Annapurna is well positioned to help these customers adopt clean energy solutions.”
Mr. Anirudh Sarda, Regional Equity Manager for Asia, Oikocredit, said: “We are proud to have been a partner with Annapurna over the past eleven years. Our investment signifies our confidence in Annapurna’s vision and its execution capability in providing easy access to credit to low-income sections of society. We look forward to creating more social impact in India and helping the communities we serve.”
Annapurna has a gross loan portfolio of INR 5,128 crores as of September 2021, with microfinance operations spread across 336 districts in 19 states. Unitus Capital advised Annapurna on the deal.
Encourage Capital and Accion now join a list of marquee investors such as ADB, MUDRA, Oman India Joint Investment Fund, Belgian Investment Company (BIO), SIDBI Venture Capital, DCB Bank, Oikocredit, Women’s World Banking, Nuveen Global Impact Fund India S.à r.l, DEG and Bamboo Capital Partners who have been invested in Annapurna over the years