Google.org, Partners Create Indian Investment Company
Its current designation – we won’t call it a name – lacks imagination, to say the least. But Google.org, the Soros Economic Development Fund, and Omidyar Network have created an entity that should be of great help to small- to medium-sized Indian businesses.
What a press release terms the "Small to Medium Enterprise Investment Company," or "Investment Company" for short, will make investments in the $500,000 to $3.5 million range. John Lyman has labeled this "the missing middle," because microloans frequently cover anything smaller, and existing groups of investors can take on larger projects.
The Investment Company won’t represent Google’s first foray into funding Indian businesses – we’ve seen the corporation work with Seedfund, the Indian Angel Network, and Ventureast TeNet Fund II in the past. Still, given the value put on the Investment Company – $17 million – it appears to be Google’s strongest effort in this area.
It looks like we’ll have to wait to see how things play out, however; look at the timeframes and use of future tense in these statements. "SEDF, Omidyar Network and Google.org plan to locate the Investment Advisor at the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad to leverage the school’s SME expertise."
Also, "Dr. Reuben Abraham, currently the ISB’s Director of the Base of Pyramid Lab and a board member of SEDF, will be named Senior Advisor." And "[t]he Investment Company will hire an experienced Investment Advisor and two experienced senior investment analysts based in India to recommend and build the pipeline of portfolio investments."