Unitus Ventures Newsletter – April 2013

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Unitus Ventures invests in two new BoP startups: iSTAR and Jack On Block

Jack On Block

Urban India is facing a severe shortage of reliable handyman service providers while 93% of India’s labor force still work in pitiable conditions, lacking predictable income and basic labor standards. Jack On Block is a facility management firm that has developed a business model which tackles both these issues effectively and profitably. They train and hire India’s unskilled/semiskilled labor to perform handyman and maintenance services for the urban public. Jack On Block began operations in mid-2012 and has grown rapidly, now servicing over 2,000 customers with a staff of over 90 employees.
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iSTAR

Issues of employability remain prevalent in India, as formal qualifications are often not a sufficient indicator of skills. iSTAR is a vocational skills training company that provides unemployed graduates with additional skills training to make them readily employable in the BFSI and ITeS sectors. We like iSTAR for its innovative business model that is targeted at reducing the knowledge gap that so many educational institutions have failed to address. As of April 2013, iSTAR has trained over 2,500 students across six colleges in Bangalore, India. Read more >

Villgro Awards 2013

Unitus Ventures received the Villgro 2013 award for Best Indian Investor at the Sankalp Unconvention Summet in Bangalore. The Villgro Awards recognizes outstanding individuals and enterprises in the Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. The event was organized as part of the Sankalp Unconvention Summit in Bangalore.

Unitus Ventures India

Unitus Ventures is launching a new Rs.50 crore early-stage fund backed by former Infosys senior ececutive Mohandas Paia and Manipal Group Scion Ranjan Pai. The Pais, who are not related to each other, have already cumulatively committed $2 million (Rs 11 crore) to the corpus.

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