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The Land Accelerator South Asia 2021 | Fireside Chat with Impact Investors

The past few years have seen the rise of impact investing as an important pillar in funding sustainability/restoration based start-ups. Impact investing seeks to add value to society. For the impact investors, value creation for society and financial returns are equally important.

For this niche sector, all investments focus on ‘what is the impact on environment, on climate and our society?’ We see this increasing awareness leads to more capital being directed to investments that contribute positively to many of today’s global challenges, from climate change, to degraded farms and forests, to depletion of our fertile soils and loss of biodiversity.

This fireside chat for our South Asia cohort with impact investors in India will mainly revolve around what investors look for in these sustainability start-ups (land restoration), what are the different types of capital available for these entrepreneurs and what are the best fundraising options, at different growth stages of these start-ups.


Chakravarthy AB, India Country Director, Upaya Social Ventures

A B Chakravarthy (Chakra) is a seasoned impact investment professional with over a decade of experience in technologies for emerging markets. In his previous roles at Agri Newgen Ventures, Menterra & Villgro, he has worked with many early-stage enterprises across AgriTech, CleanTech, EdTech, HealthTech, among others. Chakra has spearheaded deals through the full investment cycle from origination to exit. He played a key role in growing the businesses of portfolio companies and helped them raise follow-on capital. Chakra also served as a non-executive director on the board of various companies and was an advisor to several others in shaping their growth strategies and bringing good corporate governance structures. He actively participates in various Impact investment forums to share his learnings and experience from the sector.

Emmanuel Murray, Senior Advisor, Caspian Impact Investment, Adviser FPO and Agri Startup Evangelist

Over 36 years rich and varied experience in agriculture, rural credit and micro finance, including five years as head of operations of an impact-focussed NBFC with a portfolio of over INR 6 billion. Murray is currently working to build a food and agri start-up ecosystem.

Abhilash Sethi, Principal, Omnivore

Abhilash joined Omnivore in 2019 and is based out of Bengaluru . In addition to his investment responsibilities, Abhilash oversees deal pipeline tracking for Omnivore. Previously, Abhilash was a founding member of Mahindra’s precision farming team. At Mahindra, he mapped the global landscape of precision agriculture technologies and developed partnerships with multiple agri tech start-ups. Prior to that role, Abhilash worked in Mahindra’s heavy commercial vehicle business, managing sales and channel networks in Delhi and Mumbai. Abhilash began his career as an Operations Engineer at Indian Oil. He earned a B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from NIT Warangal and an MBA from IIM Bangalore.

Sandeep Bhattacharya, India Project Manager, Climate Bonds Initiative

Sandeep has more than 15 years of experience related to bond markets in India and SE Asia, where his roles have varied from credit evaluation, business development, execution and structuring of transactions. The organizations that he has worked for include the Deutsche Bank Group, and Cagamas Berhad which is a subsidiary of Bank Negara Malaysia, the Malaysian Central Bank.

He has helped many corporates and financial institutions find preferential access to capital by helping them understand the grammar and dynamics of the “green/ social/ sustainability debt financing” market. To be able to be do this in at scale, he has worked with a wide variety of stakeholder like bankers, consultants, academic institutions, trade and industry bodies, NGOs etc. To enable the engagements, he has also written several columns in leading journals like the World Economic Forum, Agfundernews, Financial Express, Business India, The Hindu Business Line, The Pioneer, etc.

Shalini Chhabra, Managing Partner, 3i Partners (Impact India Investment Partners)

Shalini is a Managing Partner, India at 3i Partners, a Silicon Valley based impact fund, and an experienced Angel Investor. She is passionate about supporting the most impoverished sections of our society and creating impact at scale; and sees the enthusiasm and dynamism of the entrepreneurial eco system in India the driving force in achieving this impact.

She has been a commercial banker with over 2 decades of experience in risk management having spent time with HDFC Bank, Citibank and Kotak Mahindra. She is also a huge proponent of gender equality, and currently mentors young students with AFH (“Aspire for Her”), hoping to bring about the change in perspective and reduce, if not eliminate the various self- limiting reasons for success by women. Shalini is a graduate of College of Business Studies, Delhi University (1995) and post graduate from IIM Bangalore (1997).

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