Villgro, Habitat for Humanity partner to fund housing start-ups

May 25, 2022

Villgro and Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter have collaborated to provide funding and incubation support to affordable housing start-ups and entrepreneurs in India.

The partnership is an outcome of Villgro’s flagship start-up deal discovery event, iPitch, which is aimed at connecting social entrepreneurs with impact investors across the globe for funding opportunities.

The two organisations will support affordable and sustainable housing enterprises in India with an objective to improve shelter for low-income families.

“Selected start-ups will receive technical guidance and mentorship to improve their product, service offerings, commercial viability and business model,” said a release.

Start-ups will also gain access to platforms connecting them with investors and other experts in the market.

Habitat’s Terwilliger Center will provide grants and technical support for up to seven start-ups to pilot promising ideas that can enable their business growth. So far, three companies—GreenJams, Zerund and Bandhu have received up to ₹45 lakh ($57,934) of funding collectively.

GreenJams is a social enterprise that manufactures Agrocrete, a carbon-negative building material made from crop residues, such as paddy straw, wheat straw and cotton-stalk, and industrial by-products (slags, sludge and fuel ashes) that replaces conventional building materials.

Zerund manufactures recycled bricks, known as Plastic Embedded Lightweight Brick. Bandhu is involved in the design, development and deployment of software and other IT solutions tailored to solving problems for low-income migrant workers in India.

It connects workers with jobs and housing by matching workers, employers, landlords and middlemen.

“Social enterprises can bring in the innovation needed to make housing affordable, without losing track of social and environmental impact. At Villgro, we are excited to be part of this partnership and bring our two decades of experience in startup incubation to scale these solutions, as we learn from the deep sector expertise of Habitat’s Terwilliger Center,” said Ananth Aravamudan, Sector Lead, Climate Action at Villgro Innovations Foundation.

“Innovative products and services from start-ups are an important part of our strategy to make housing markets more efficient and inclusive in India. We are delighted to partner with Villgro, a pioneer in social innovation, to identify and support impactful enterprises in the affordable housing space,” said Anoop Nambiar, Country Director for the Terwilliger Center in India.

Selected start-ups will also join Habitat’s ShelterTech platform. “ShelterTech has already supported more than 70 innovative ventures with knowledge, network, connections and capital since 2017,” said Lizan Kuster, global lead for ShelterTech.

“We are now partnering with leading accelerators to run affordable housing tracks and leveraging our expertise to support even more entrepreneurs,” Luster added

Published on

May 24, 2022

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