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Kartik Desai

Principal, Asha Impact

Kartik is Principal at Asha Impact, an impact investment and policy advocacy organization founded by Vikram Gandhi that enables business leaders to combine their capital, networks and expertise to address development challenges in India. In the last two years he has led equity investments into eight social enterprises in sectors including financial inclusion, affordable housing, energy access and affordable education. He also manages the not-profit activities of the Asha Impact trust, providing venture philanthropy to build the social impact ecosystem and targeted policy advocacy initiatives with the government.

Kartik has over a decade of experience in venture capital, social entrepreneurship, investment banking and international development. He has been an investment manager at two of the largest impact funds in India, Lok Capital and Aavishkaar, and is the founder of What’s up Bharat, a platform for young Indians to engage on social and political issues using data analytics. He began his career working as an associate with Merrill Lynch in the India investment banking team and has worked on multiple IPO, M&A and private equity transactions across sectors. He has also done a variety of consulting assignments for organisations including the BTS Group, the United Nations Development Program and the Rockefeller Foundation. Kartik graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University with a Master in International Affairs. He is based out of New Delhi.

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Getting To The Heart Of Impact Investment In India

Impact investment is generally understood in India to involve for-profit equity or debt investment in early-stage ventures that are delivering basic services to the poor -- giving them access to affordable housing, financial services, education, health or energy -- or helping to provide them jobs and better livelihood opportunities. According to this definition, India has thus far seen approximately US$2 billion of impact investments into some 300 companies. And the pace of this activity is picking up.
01/03/2016 8:11 AM IST