OPIC Finances High-Impact Investing through Unitus Impact’s Livelihood Impact Fund
March 24, 2016
WASHINGTON – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, today announced financing of $12.5 million to support the Livelihood Impact Fund (LIF), a fund managed by Unitus Impact, a venture capital firm that invests in scalable companies working to increase incomes and improve the livelihoods of the working poor in Southeast Asia and India.
“As an agency that is committed to helping the private sector enter into emerging markets, OPIC is delighted to support LIF as the fund invests in some of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets that are often overlooked by private investors,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “LIF’s unique approach of investing in companies that empower the working poor to become stronger market participants will have a long-lasting impact on the underserved communities in these regions.”
“We are thankful to have the support of a marquee investor like OPIC who believes that strong social impact can be generated by investing in scalable, profitable companies focused on serving traditionally disadvantaged populations. We look forward to making investments in innovative, high-growth companies in Southeast Asia and India that can create lasting social change and generate risk-commensurate returns for our investors. Our goal at Unitus Impact is to demonstrate the commercial viability of investing into companies focused on livelihoods,” said Unitus Impact CEO Geoff Woolley.
LIF makes investments in early stage companies that link underserved populations to formal markets, build innovative supply chain or distribution platforms, and/or provide underserved consumers with products and services that improve their lives. Such investments provide, low income communities opportunities for economic growth and stability to which they would otherwise not have access, allowing LIF to generate real and measurable development impact.
OPIC support to LIF is the first through the institution’s Innovative Financial Intermediaries Program (IFIP), a pilot program launched to support smaller-scale financial intermediaries and vehicles investing with a specific focus on impact and innovation. LIF proposal was submitted to OPIC’s IFIP review committee as part of a competitive, open process. Investment funds or vehicles interested in working with OPIC through IFIP should visit www.opic.gov.
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OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.
All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker's rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.