Venture debt fund Black Soil Capital has invested over $8 million in Tonbo Imaging, PARAS ARC, and Dar Credit.
As per the official release, these investments are a part of BlackSoil’s investment strategy to focus on deeptech and financial services sectors. The venture debt firm collaborates with businesses operating in large untapped market segments where they are required to offer distinctive and innovative solutions in a successful way, the release added.
Ankur Bansal, Co-founder and Director of BlackSoil, said,
“These companies have shown tremendous growth in their segments and are backed by experienced management and marquee investors. Their unique business positioning and ability to survive through adversities like COVID-19 is what made these companies an attractive proposition for BlackSoil. We are optimistic that our debt capital will help these companies take their businesses to the next level and we will continue to support them throughout their journey.”
Tonbo Imaging is a Bengaluru-based indigenous manufacturer of advanced electro-optics infrared (EOIR) solutions for military and commercial applications. It develops EOIR systems for tactical, land, naval, and aerial applications. Co-founded by CEO Arvind Lakshmikumar, Tonbo Imaging is backed by deeptech investors including Artiman Ventures, Edelweiss, Qualcomm, and Celesta. That startup says it has signed military modernisation programmes with the Ministry of Home and the Ministry of Defense, as well as many success stories of supplying EOIR systems to countries like Spain, France, Morocco, Jordan, Philippines, Vietnam, etc.
PARAS is a South India-based ARC (Asset Reconstruction and Securitisation Company) formed in 2008. Founded by M Siva Rama Vara Prasad, PARAS is part of the $1.5 billion conglomerate—“Prasaditya and WACEM Group”, with Punjab National Bank as an institutional sponsor of PARAS holding a 10% stake in the company. To date, the company through trusts manages an AUM of $175+ million. The ARC is focused on acquiring corporate debt and recently ventured into its first retail debt acquisition.
Dar Credit is an RBI-registered NBFC that provides unsecured personal loans to the employees of municipalities and MSME loans, primarily to women entrepreneurs. The company has 23 branches across six states (including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal). Founded in 1994 by Ramesh Kumar Vijay, it currently has $15+ million worth of assets under management, and over 20,000 active borrowers. The company has tie-ups with almost 300+ municipalities where credit is provided to employees that are not serviced by traditional financial institutions.
Some of BlackSoil’s other noteworthy investments include nine unicorns—Upstox, Slice, MobiKwik, Udaan, Infra.Market, Zetwerk, Oyo, Spinny, and Purplle, along with prominent companies such as roll-up play cloud kitchen company—Curefoods, EV ride-hailing startup—BluSmart, and women-focused rural housing finance company—AVIOM India Housing Finance, among others.
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