MUMBAI, India, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ — ACCION International (through its Gateway Fund), the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the Unitus Equity Fund (UEF) announced investments in Swadhaar FinServe Private Limited, a microfinance institution (MFI) operating in the slums of Mumbai. The promoters of Swadhaar FinServe, Veena Mankar and Haseena Vahanvaty, bring together a unique blend of professional financial sector expertise and hands-on developmental sector experience.
Swadhaar Finserve will purchase the business of Swadhaar FinAccess, a non-profit MFI set up by the same promoter group in 2006 to pilot financial products and services for urban slums. The Unitus Equity Fund, a private equity fund managed by Elevar Equity LLC, and the Dell family foundation have both supported Swadhaar FinAccess in the past. Swadhaar FinServe will leverage the investment to substantially scale up its individual lending product, tested and suitably modified for the urban markets in India through technical assistance provided by ACCION, and aims to serve over 100,000 clients in India. Veena Mankar, who was the managing director of a leading independent company in India before she decided to pursue her interests in microfinance and community development, commented that there have been limited attempts at introducing large-scale, individual lending models in the Indian microfinance sector. She added that they are now confident of expanding their operations beyond Mumbai into other urban centres in India.