The Impact Investor Mukesh Sharma on investment in social enterprises that use the power of tech.

By Punita Sabharwal

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Entrepreneur India
Mukesh Sharma Co-founder & Managing Director, Menterra Venture Advisors

Through Menterra Social Impact Fund, Mukesh Sharma invests in social enterprises that are using the power of technology, to improve the quality of farming, healthcare and education in India. He has 16 years of rich experience in start-up incubation, venture capital, impact investing, investment banking and finance. Earlier, he was the Chief Investment Officer at Villgro, India's oldest and foremost social enterprise incubator. Sharma is a Chartered Accountant and a CFA Charterholder. He has been a member on the Capital sub-committee of the Impact Investors Council of India. Menterra Social Impact Fund 1 has at least eight companies that show tremendous potential. Talking about his investment philosophy he says, "We have invested close to US$3m in these companies and helped unlock US$2m in debt funding through our network. Each of these companies are on course to be larger than our fund in terms of revenue and to deliver on our promise of Impacting India while delivering market returns." Three of the most advanced in terms of revenue traction are:

1. Biosense is using cutting-edge IoT products with focus on India's twin challenges, malnutrition and diabetes. All devices have cloud connectivity with geo tagging that provide accurate data for more targeted health interventions. With over 10 million tests, Biosense has made access to basic diagnostics possible for some of India's poorest, in diverse geographies including the hilly regions of Ladakh, desert districts of Rajasthan and tribal areas of Maharashtra. Biosense was identified by their incubator partner Villgro at an idea stage. They incubated and provided intense operating support to Biosense for five years. This partnership from idea to scale journey resulted in Menterra making an equity investment in Biosense in 2016.

2. FarmFolks works with small farmers and retail partners to deliver fresh, certified, high quality fruits and vegetables to consumers. They help the farmers through training on globally accepted agronomic practices and ensure a fair price for their certified produce. Through fair and transparent market access, direct procurement at the farm-gate and elimination of non-value adding intermediaries, Farm Folks can provide tremendous value to the farmers and retail partners. Menterra's agriculture team undertook a detailed research to identify companies providing better market linkage, higher yield and income to small farmers. As part of this exercise, they identified Farm Folks for equity investment. The team conducted several field visits to validate the investment and impact thesis before Menterra investment.

3. Chrysalis is focused on bringing a holistic change in the current education system to deliver better learning outcomes starting from early-learning years. It acts as a core curriculum provider and academic partner with innovative pedagogy that develops creative and critical thinking. Chrysalis is currently present in 11 states, in 500+ schools with 250,000 students. Chrysalis was introduced to them by an impact focused ed-tech consulting firm. Menterra partnered with Chrysalis to deliver a difficult trinity of learning outcomes, sound economic fundamentals and access to underprivileged students.

(This article was first published in the July 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

Punita Sabharwal

Entrepreneur Staff

Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur India Magazine

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Related Topics

News and Trends

Zydus Wellness: Leveraging FMCG Trends To Turn Around Tables

Price-pack architecture, e-commerce, Internet first brands and increased penetration in smaller pockets, are the current focus of the company

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.


5 Ways ChatGPT Will Impact Digital Marketing

ChatGPT is creating ripples across the digital landscape right now. Here are five ways it can benefit your ads, campaigns and marketing strategies.

Science & Technology

The Deepfake Threat is Real. Here Are 3 Ways to Protect Your Business

The rising use of deepfakes is a growing threat to businesses and society as technology advances. Here are three tips for companies to combat this threat.

Science & Technology

How Can Marketers Use ChatGPT? Here Are the Top 11 Uses.

With the recent developments in AI and the popularity of ChatGPT, you may want to integrate AI into your marketing practices. Find out how.

News and Trends

Renewables Energy Focused InSolare Raises INR 66 Cr Led by Negen Capital

The Bengaluru-based startup aims to use the raised funds to further improve its capabilities and accelerate its impact in the renewable energy sector.