How Social impact startups in India can Raise Funds

Social impact startups in India can raise funds in the early stages through various avenues. Here are some strategies they can consider:

  1. Angel Investors: Angel investors are individuals who provide capital for startups / early-stage ventures, often in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. Many angel investors are interested in supporting social impact initiatives and may be willing to invest in early-stage startups. Join network organizations like The Indian Angel Network (IAN: or Mumbai Angels (Mumbai Angels: to connect with potential angel investors
  2. Venture Capital: Venture capital firms invest in startups with high growth potential. There are several venture capital firms in India that focus on social impact investments. Startups can pitch their ideas to these firms and potentially secure funding.
  3. Impact Investors: Impact investors specifically seek to invest in companies that generate positive social or environmental impact alongside financial returns. These investors are increasingly active in India and can provide funding to social impact startups in the early stages.

Capital 4 Development (C4D) Partners   is a impact investing firm with a focus on early-stage ventures in emerging markets. C4D Bharat Shubharambh Fund is a INR 375-550 Crore Fund investing in equity & equity-linked instruments, with a focus on Sustainable Development, Social Impact, Climate, and Gender Inclusivity.

  1. Government Grants and Programs: The Indian government offers various grants, subsidies, and support programs for startups, including those with a social impact focus. Startups can explore these opportunities to secure non-dilutive funding.
  2. Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding platforms allow startups to raise funds from a large number of individuals, typically through online platforms. Social impact startups can leverage crowd-funding to raise awareness about their cause and secure early-stage funding from supporters.
    • Crowdfunding for Nonprofits : Charitable NGOs like Help Foundation in Kurnool can leverage crowdfunding to raise funds for charity causes, like building an orphanage. Top crowdfunding sites are Milaap (, ImpactGuru ( and Ketto (https://
    • Equity Crowdfunding: Fundable is an equity crowdfunding platform. Ketto ( has now also enabled personal and creative/business crowdfunding campaigns to be set up on its platform.
    • Reward-Based Crowdfunding: reward-based crowdfunding is pledging or giving money to a business in return for a product or service at a later stage.
  3. Incubators and Accelerators: These programs provide mentorship, networking opportunities, and sometimes seed funding.  Joining an incubator or accelerator program can provide social impact startups with access to mentorship, networking opportunities, and sometimes funding. These programs often culminate in pitch events where startups can attract investment.
    • Villgro (Villgro: – helps inventors and innovators working with under-served communities to get capital and unlock access to market through our highly customised, hands-on approach to incubation.
  1. Social Impact Competitions and Challenges: Various organizations and foundations host competitions and challenges specifically for social impact startups. Winning these competitions can not only provide funding but also offer valuable exposure and networking opportunities.
    • Tata Social Enterprise Challenge
    • HULT Prize : The Hult Prize is an annual competition for ideas solving pressing social issues, such as food security, water access, energy, and education, the selected idea receiving US$1 million in seed capital to be launched into a social enterprise
    • The/Nudge Incubator : supports early-stage nonprofit entrepreneurs who are solving India’s most critical livelihood challenges.  It offers ₹15 lakhs and dedicated support through a 9-month program to bring your vision to life.
    •  N/Core Accelerator supports nonprofit entrepreneurs with a proven model to build resilient livelihoods for India’s poorest.  They offer up to ₹1 crore and the right support to expedite your scale journey.
  1. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Funding: Some corporations in India allocate a portion of their annual profits for CSR initiatives. Social impact startups can partner with these corporations or apply for funding through their CSR programs.
  2. Peer-to-Peer Lending: Peer-to-peer lending platforms connect borrowers with individual lenders. Social impact startups can explore this option to raise funds directly from individuals who are interested in supporting their cause.
  3. Bootstrapping and Grants: Finally, founders can consider bootstrapping their startups in the early stages by using personal savings or relying on revenue generated from initial sales. Additionally, they can apply for grants from foundations, nonprofits, or international organizations that support social impact initiatives.
    • This involves utilizing personal savings, leveraging founder expertise, and minimizing initial expenses. Focus on a lean operation until generating revenue or attracting further investment.
    • Several government and non-profit organizations offer grants specifically for social impact initiatives. Research grant opportunities aligned with your mission (e.g., healthcare, education, clean energy). Non-profit Grants: Look at foundations like The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation: or The Rockefeller Foundation (Rockefeller Foundation: that support social impact initiatives globally.
    • Research schemes under The Department of Science and Technology (DST) or Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) which might offer grants aligned with your social impact area.

By leveraging these funding sources and tailoring their pitches to highlight the social impact of their ventures, startups in India can increase their chances of securing early-stage funding for their social impact initiatives.

Additional Tips:

  • Develop a compelling investor pitch: Clearly articulate your social impact story, address a genuine problem, and showcase a robust business model with a path to profitability.
  • Network with the right people: Attend industry events, connect with impact investors and social entrepreneurs. Build connections that can open doors to funding opportunities.
  • Utilize Government initiatives: The Indian government offers support for startups, including schemes like the Fund of Funds for Startups. Explore these options to potentially access government funds.