Press Release

SarvaGram secures $10.5 million in a Series B Investment round led by Elevation Capital along with pro-rata participation from existing investor Elevar Equity.

SarvaGram is building India’s first household centric, data-science led ‘high-tech high-touch’ distribution platform providing a bouquet of financial and productivity-enhancing offerings to meet the growing aspirations of rural India. SarvaGram announced today that it has secured $10.5 million in a Series B equity Investment round led by Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners) along with pro-rata participation from existing investor Elevar Equity. This marks the second high-profile Institutional investment in the start-up in just two years of its existence. The current round is a reflection of its unique service delivery model and tapping into an emerging and highly underserved market opportunity.

This funding will be utilized to further strengthen SarvaGram’s technology platform, expand its reach into new geographies and launch new offerings.

Co-founded by veteran rural bankers Utpal Isser and Sameer Mishra, SarvaGram attempts to marry the on ground presence with enabling technology to better identify and serve its target customers. SarvaGram has developed and deployed proprietary tools, including scorecards for various customer segments to automate its lending decision.

Utpal Isser, Co-Founder and CEO of SarvaGram said, “We are delighted to have two highly discerning private equity investors as our partners in this journey to create unique financial and productivity enhancing solutions for the emerging middle classes in rural India, a journey which really starts from recognising that the needs of this aspirational, productive segment of rural economy are specific and need bespoke attention and solutions to further aid their growth.”

SarvaGram has an in-depth understanding of rural households’ ground realities and specific insights into their balance sheets and multiple income streams. Consequently, SarvaGram can assess households as cohesive economic units factoring in community dynamics.

During the challenging environment posed by Covid-19, SarvaGram worked with its households to promote the use of digital payments to minimize the health impact of its customers and team members.

Ms. Jyotsna Krishnan, Managing Partner, Elevar Equity said, “The massive opportunity that rural India presents is well known, however, building and scaling distribution in the rural context requires a deep understanding of these markets and of rural households. It has been great to see how Utpal and Sameer have leveraged their deep experience in rural financial services to design a platform that taps into household level data & insights and built a distribution business that has proven robust even through the pandemic.”

Mridul Arora, Managing Director, Elevation Capital said, “Utpal and Sameer bring an intimate understanding of the rural market and the rural customer. The team’s customer-centric ethos, ground-up product thinking, and combination of high touch and tech are truly distinctive. We deeply resonate with SarvaGram’s mission to build a household-focused lender catering to the aspirations of rural India and are excited to be partners on their journey.”

Elevar Equity has been at the forefront of impact investing since 2006. The Elevar Method of investing has democratized essential products and services for over 30 million low-income households in India and Latin America, by investing early growth capital in entrepreneurs and businesses that demonstrate a direct correlation between high impact and returns.

Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners) is an early-stage investor, with $2 billion under management across consumer internet, financial services, logistics, enterprise SaaS, consumer brands and B2B services. Since 2001, the team has been an early partner to over 100 companies to date, including several category-defining players such as Paytm, Swiggy, Urban Company, ShareChat, Meesho, NoBroker, Spinny, Acko, NSE and Aye Finance.

About SarvaGram:

SarvaGram is building India’s first household centric, data-science led ‘high-tech high-touch’ distribution platform providing a bouquet of financial and productivity-enhancing offerings to meet the growing aspirations of rural India. Starting operations in June 2019, it has set up operations in Gujarat and Maharashtra across seven locations.

SarvaGram leverages technology to provide financial services along with complementary interventions to improve the productivity of farmers and small enterprises in rural and semi-urban India. SarvaGram’s offering cuts against the traditional framework by blending the household and business view of customers, allowing them access to a variety of financial products, improving their productivity and ultimately their quality of life. The company’s focus on setting up technology enabled distribution points in rural and underserved markets along with building long term relationships with its target households is a key differentiator. SarvaGram’s ambition is driven by the founders’ passion for and deep domain expertise in rural finance and distribution – with nearly 45 years of combined experience and leadership roles in large Banks & Financial institutions.

About the Founders

Utpal Isser, Co-Founder and CEO, brings over 20 years of experience across retail and rural banking. Previously, he headed Rural and Inclusive Banking at ICICI Bank, where he managed a team of 13,000 employees across 1,600 branches and a $5.7Bn asset book. He brings rich leadership and domain experience across brand management, mortgages, micro/inclusive banking, and retail banking, including MSME and government banking.

Sameer Mishra, Co-Founder and Business Head brings over 20 years’ experience in banking across NBFCs, public sector banks, and private sector banks, including Bank Of India, ICICI Bank, and Adani Capital. He was formerly National Rural Business Head at Fullerton India, where he managed a $500Mn portfolio and led a network of 350 branches with 7,000 employees. Furthermore, he helped set up the rural business for a leading NBFC in Western India that operates with 20 branches.