Lok-Capital Led Fund Pushes Ummeed Housing Finance With $3.5M Investment

By Claire Ann Austria

Oct 18, 2016 06:00 AM EDT

The Lok Capital advised Growth Catalyst Partners (GCP) which is the third fund from the India focused impact investor today announced that it has led the Series A investment of $3.5 million in Ummeed, a Delhi-based Housing Finance company focused on affordable housing in North and Central India.

This is the maiden investment from Lok's third fund. Duane Park is a co-investor in this investment round. The institutional funding will fuel Ummeed's expansion plans as well as boost deployment of technology towards achieving greater operating efficiency. Vishal Mehta, Cofounder & Partner, Lok Advisory Services and Anurag Bhargava of Duane Park will join the board of Ummeed. Mr. Alok Prasad, Ex-Mortgage Head at Citi Financials and Ex-CEO of Microfinance Industry Association (MFIN), will also join as a Non-Executive Board Member at Ummeed.

The potential of the Indian affordable housing finance segment is pegged at Rs. 8.8 trillion (~$135 billion), according to a Monitor-Deloitte study commissioned by World Bank and the National Housing Bank. However, the portfolio of existing affordable housing players is only Rs. 6,500 Crore (~$1 billion).

As banks and large NBFCs focus towards the formal, higher income segment, an immense opportunity presents itself for startups like Ummeed to develop a sustainable business model in lending to the informal market.

Founded in January 2016 by Ashutosh Sharma, a seasoned banker with over 25 years of experience at Citi, HSBC and Bank of Montreal, Ummeed focuses on providing housing finance access to families with low, informal income. The company is backed by a team of ex Citi Bank professionals, who have solid foothold in commercial banking, credit and mortgage. Sachin Grover, the Chief Operating Officer, has over 20 years of mortgage experience at Citi Financials, IIFL and Magma Housing. The operating team consists of professionals with extensive small-ticket mortgage experience at AU Housing, Magma and Shubham.

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