Giving Life to Socially Relevant Business Ideas

When women’s self-help group supplied jamun pulp to Nasik-based company, Delhi's Turiya investments came into light
Giving Life to Socially Relevant Business Ideas
Giving Life to Socially Relevant Business Ideas

After the digital space and FMCG, socially responsible ventures are attracting investment from angles. According to one source, there are close to 4,600 active investors of which about 60 per cent are angels. 

With angel investment set to rise exponentially in the next 12 months, let’s take a look at one investment consultancy which prides itself as the big equalizer when it comes to bridging the gap between capital, and socially responsible business ideas. 

After a women’s self-help group of ten farming community successfully supplied the pulp of indigenous Indian fruit jamun to a Nasik-based company, which manufactured wine from this pulp, Delhi-based Turiya Investments came into focus. 

Devender Patel, a local social activist in Madhya Pradesh, put the investment firm in touch with this group known as Van Durga. The brainchild of Luke Talwar, 27, Turiya is the angel investment consultancy that prides itself on being outside the old paradigm of funding not only tech start-ups.

“We’re not the typical old-school angel investment firm,” quips Luke, who started the firm with like-minded industry professionals from IIM and Harvard after giving up a lucrative business in architecture and art. Turiya is considered an exalted state of being, and this is why this name is apt for a firm that’s committed to making a difference to marginalized communities by leveraging their business ideas into doable, industry-friendly best practices. 

“In this case investment in agriculture is also a development worth taking note of as future generations of farmers are choosing not to be in agriculture but in the tertiary sector. Investment to agriculture is, therefore, a great service to the country,” points out Luke. “In the case of Van Durga, the women’s self-help group from Madhya Pradesh who we are assisting in selling fruit pulp to various industries including the wine manufacturer in Nasik, we really went the extra mile,” informs Luke. Turiya hand-held this group of farming women to procure de-seeding machines, pulping machines and the cold storage unit while teaching and motivating them to produce farm products for the end-use market. “We don’t typically see our clients through the proof-of-project stage, but we did this for Van Durga because we saw a lot of potential in their business idea,” he says. The Van Durga project, which is an agroforestry venture, is a 16-crore rupee investment for the company that identified as an investor.

As for the product, jamun wine isn’t just novel for the Indian market, it’s also a product with numerous health benefits. “Nasik produces 80 per cent of the country’s wine, the temperature being just right for wine production,” Luke explains. Next Van Durga could be selling custard-apple pulp, another fruit grown on their farms, to a leading ice-cream manufacturer. 

“Just as the wine company in Nasik is a third-party in this venture, we plan to hook Van Durga up with various third-party producers who can use fruit pulp in a variety of ways to create exciting new products for the Indian market,” says Luke.

Under Turiya’s watchful eye, the Durga women are managing their time and resources optimally, and the raw materials are all ethically sourced bringing value to the end consumer, and manufacturer. 

This is how Turiya proposes to bring socially relevant business ideas to life. Investments could range from a few crores to hundreds of millions of USD. No matter what the budget, the one thing Turiya promises is scaling up businesses that are ethical, and give social ideas a new lease of life. 

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