Founder and Managing Director, Aavishkaar
Vineet Rai, with more than 19 years of experience in leading innovative interventions in the development finance sector, is the Founder and Managing Director of Aavishkaar and Co-founder & Chairman of the Intellecap Group of companies. Vineet’s interests include early stage venture capital, micro enterprises, microfinance investments, Incubations and social investment advisory. Vineet chairs the Board of Villgro, an Incubating and Funding Platform and Intellegrow, an Intellecap subsidiary providing venture debt services to Impact enterprises.
Aavishkaar is a pioneer Impact Investment fund with more than US$160 million under management. The fund specializes in seeding companies that generate return and create livelihoods for low income people or reduce vulnerabilities by improving access to health, education, water, sanitation, energy.
Intellecap provides advisory services to Business, Social enterprises, Impact Investors and Governments to build economic engagement with the low income population worldwide. The group subsidiaries include Arohan, a Microfinance company, Intellegrow, a Venture Debt Company, Intellecash, a Microfinance incubation company, and has pioneering initiatives such as I ‘Cube” N – India’s first Impact Angel Network and SANKALP Forum, one of the foremost Global platform for Inclusive development.
A frequent speaker at national and global forums, Vineet has received numerous awards including the G 20 – SME Innovation in Finance Award in 2010, the UNDP-IBLF World Business Award in 2005 & Lemelson Venture Fund Award in 2007 on behalf of Aavishkaar. He has also received the Ashoka Fellowship and Honorary Membership of XLRI Alumni Association. Driving on Indian roads is one of his passions and he tries to cover 50,000 KM every year.
Recognizing the growing importance of impact investing, EMPEA established an Impact Investing Council in 2013 to play a leading role in professionalizing and scaling the industry, focusing specifically on market-based solutions to major global social and environmental challenges. EMPEA believes that private equity investors have much to contribute to impact investing in emerging markets. The private equity discipline lends commercial expertise and financial rigor, and private equity practitioners have years of experience operating in underserved geographies and inherently impactful sectors (e.g. financial services, healthcare, education, agribusiness, and housing), with customer segments (e.g. low income people and those excluded from traditional sources of finance).
Since its inception, EMPEA has contributed to the acceptance of emerging markets private equity as a credible and attractive investment approach. Despite the vast potential for impact investing to unlock growth and reduce poverty in emerging markets there is still much skepticism about its power to do so. The domain is fragmented, and the data available to investors on the institutional quality of investment managers as well as their performance, are lacking. The EMPEA Impact Investing Council is well positioned to help private equity impact investing overcome some of these obstacles and realize its potential. The Council seeks to bring together leading impact investing practitioners and thought leaders to share best practices, support rigorous research, assist in the development of innovative business models and performance databases. In this chapter, several Council members describe a range of private equity approaches to impact investing, explain how they add value and measure impact, and highlight the challenges still to overcome.