BOSTON and BANGALORE, India, Nov. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Accion, a pioneer and leader in bringing financial services to the underserved, today announced that its Frontier Investments Group along with Saama Capital, an India venture focused investment firm, has invested US$4 million in Shubham Housing Development Finance Company, headquartered in Gurgaon, India. Shubham's mission is to provide mortgages and home-improvement loans to low-income families in urban areas of India. Frontier Investments and Saama Capital join current investors Elevar Equity and Helion Venture Capital in this second-round capitalization, totaling US $8 million.
As the Indian economy expands, more people are migrating to urban areas; 350 million Indians live in cities today, a figure predicted to double by 2030. Housing is particularly affected by the urban explosion as nearly 50 percent of India's city-dwellers are forced into sub-standard housing accommodations as real estate prices increase and affordability declines.
Shubham's goal is to provide mortgages and home-improvement loans for quality housing, to individuals typically excluded from formal financial systems. With operations in 17 locations across seven Indian states, Shubham has already helped hundreds of low-income customers through its interview-based method of lending, which goes beyond the traditional document-based approach and leverages new technology to address the unique needs of poorer populations.
"Shubham's innovative operating model has the potential to change the way significant numbers of urban Indians live – by delivering critical financial services to self-employed, low-income people," said Monica Brand, head of Accion's Frontier Investments, an early-and growth-stage equity vehicle that invests in breakthrough innovations that can enhance financial service delivery to the under-and unbanked. "We are thrilled to partner with a high-efficiency, forward-thinking provider who shares our vision of economic access for all."
As a hands-on equity partner, Frontier Investments leverages its specialized financial-technology expertise and Accion's five decades of experience in financial inclusion, consulting and investing in emerging markets.
"The company, through its experienced management team, has created a model that helps fill a very important gap in affordable, accessible and efficient housing financing for India's vast entrepreneurial and self-employed population," said Ash Lilani, Managing Partner of Saama Capital. "We are pleased to work closely with Frontier, Helion and Elevar to support Shubham."
Monica Brand and Ash Lilani, Managing Partner of Saama Capital, will join Accion's earlier investors, Helion and Elevar, and the founder-managers on Shubham's board as part of the transaction.
"At the heart of our business model is the ability to understand what our clients are genuinely able to afford, and ensuring they get the appropriate loan for a better and safer home," said Sanjay Chaturvedi, co-founder and CEO of Shubham. "We are delighted to have investors of Accion/ Frontier and Saama's caliber and excited at the value they bring given their long experience across geographies."
Accion is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of building a financially inclusive world by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. A world pioneer in microfinance, Accion was founded as a community development organization in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. Over time, Accion has helped to build 63 microfinance institutions in 31 countries on four continents that are currently reaching millions of clients. For more information, visit www.accion.org.
About Saama Capital
Saama Capital, is an India venture focused investment firm with a balanced and diversified approach to investing in the growth of the Indian economy. Since 2006, Saama (formerly knows as Silicon Valley Bank India Capital Partners) has been investing in exceptional entrepreneurs and creating substantial companies within the Indian ecosystem. Sectors that the fund has invested in include mobile, internet, IT services, financial services, healthcare, education, retail and food & beverages.
About Shubham Housing Development Finance Company
Headquartered in Gurgaon , India, Shubham was created in 2010 by two experienced lending professionals, Sanjay Chaturvedi and Ajay Oak, who saw a massive gap in the availability of formal credit to low-income households. Having obtained registration from India's National Housing Bank in February 2011, Shubham has steadily expanded its reach, starting with branches in the National Capital Region [NCR] and Gujarat and subsequently to customers in Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Its primary products are mortgages and home-improvement loans. For more information, visit www.shubham.co.