In late 2002 AIMVCF made its first investment. Servals Automation in Chennai has licensed and patented two grass roots inventions. One is a water saving, energy efficient 'rain gun' invented by a farmer in Karnataka. It helps in optimising irrigation of cane fields. The other is the Venus kerosene burner that saves fuel and can be used in homes and small
Its second investment is in an ongoing business. Shri Kamadhenu Electronics Private Ltd [SKEPL] in Mumbai has revolutionised the management of village dairy co-operatives. It has been marketing a computerised milk assaying and billing system that has changed the way milk gathering operates. Queueing times have slashed from hours to minutes, milk spoilage reduced and transparency brought about. Farmers come in flaunting plastic cards and go away in minutes with a printed receipt for the milk supplied. SKEPL's machine is called Akashganga ['Milky Way'] and its impact is worth reading in full. It's a truly Indian innovation that uses a DOS based operating system leveraged to serve a huge industry.
After all there are close to a 100,000 village milk co-operatives in 200 districts across India through which over 10 million members market 17 million litres of milk daily. *Take that in*. So, although there are over 500 Akashgangas at work now, they are mostly in Gujarat, a small slice of the huge market. AIMVCF's investment is presumably to take Akashganga country wide. They have invested Rs.1.8 million for a 26% share of equity. Two more investments are likely to be finalised soon.
Aavishkaar has come to imbibe Dr. C K Prahlad's prescription for rapid growth of Indian economy. Concentrate on the Tier-4 market, he says. Tier-4 is peopled by low income masses. Collectively their buying power is enormous and they will buy products and services that improve their lives. Aavishkaar is applying to entrepreneurs within this market, processes like due diligence studies, technical and market opportunity evaluations and management accountability. It manages to pay its lean, professional staff reasonably well, from the interest the uninvested corpus yields. It channels its funds only to businesses that are socially relevant, environmentally friendly and commercially viable. Because in the end, its mission is not only economic returns for its investors but social returns for India as well.
V Anantha Nageswaran