Gender-focused investment platform Achieving Women Equity (AWE) Funds today announced that it has launched its maiden India fund amounting to Rs 350 crore. As per the company, this newly launched fund will invest in approximately 15 start-ups over the next five years, spanning across sectors like healthcare, clean energy, food and agriculture, and fintech.
AWE, which is based out of the US, said that it has attracted investment support from many international as well as Indian institutional investors and also from high net-worth individuals (HNIs). Indian HNIs who have invested in AWE include names like Zia Mody, Soumya Rajan ( the founder and CEO of Waterfield Advisors), Padma Chandrasekaran (formerly of Gates Foundation) and Divya Sampath (who was formerly with Microsoft, Cognizant, Service Now), among many others.
Commenting on the announcement, AWE Funds’ founding partner, Seema Chaturvedi pointed out that due to entrenched gender rules, women’s participation in the economy, and as active contributors to the nation’s GDP has been constricted, something which can be seen in the low and declining labour participation rates. “The need for women to join the mainstream economic value creation has gained serious urgency especially in the setting of an overall scarcity of resources to achieve sustainable development goals. Gender equity unleashes a massive multiplier flywheel effect to mobilize these scarce resources for maximal output. We believe that AWE Funds can play a very positive role in catalysing this much-required change,” she said.
AWE Funds said that it has set itself up a goal to empower 30 million women by 2030 through a “quantitative threshold-based gender lens gating criteria to invest in women-owned, led or influenced companies.”
“AWE Funds pursues investments at an early stage of an enterprise’s lifecycle (Pre-Series A, Series A equity rounds) and additionally seeks to assist companies with the diverse skills of the firm’s investment professionals, strategic relationships, and the firm’s global network of executives and advisors to deliver market returns for its investors,” the company said in a statement.
The company claims to have invested close to Rs 2,800 crore and houses four portfolio companies from sectors like fintech, agritech, and healthtech.
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