Jaipur-based last mile rural distribution startup, Frontier Markets, on Monday announced that it has raised $2.25 million in a Pre-Series A funding round led by ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, The Rise Fund, and The Singh Family Trusts (advised by Artha Impact), along with Teja Ventures and affiliates of Beyond Capital Fund.
Founded in 2011 by Ajaita Shah, Frontier Markets is a last mile-assisted ecommerce and distribution company that leverages its network of tech-enabled women agents to market, sell and service products and services across rural India.
The current investment will drive the company’s assisted ecommerce platform to the next level, adding digital marketing tools, AI-enabled digital training, and a B2C solution onboarding its rural customers directly on its digital platform, it said. The company will also leverage its B2B2C ecommerce to drive digital and physical services to rural customers and become the primary income source for rural women.
Ajaita Shah, Founder and CEO of Frontier Markets
Also ReadFrontier Markets: A Lesson in Rural Product Positioning and Marketing
Frontier Markets claims to have over 4,000 women entrepreneurs who are tech-enabled using its proprietary assisted ecommerce platform to deliver over one million products and services to 700,000 rural customers in Rajasthan, UP, and Bihar. The company said it is associated with several partners including Samsung, Crompton, HUL, Eko India Financial Services, and more to curate products based on data insights collected through its tech platform.
In response to COVID-19, Frontier Markets launched doorstep delivery of essential goods and digital banking services as a response to the challenges presented by limited access to supplies in rural India.
Ajaita Shah, Founder and CEO of Frontier Markets said,
“Prior to COVID-19, Frontier Markets invested in a technology platform that leveraged data to deliver a wider range of products and services in energy, finance, connectivity, agriculture and more to the last mile consumer, digitally onboarding all of our agent network. Today, we have added essential products and services—from food to protective gear to mobile banking, recognizing that our customers trust us and want us to deliver all solutions to them through our platform.”
Lead Investor Anne Chassagnette, Managing Director of ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies’s commented, “
“The swift adjustment of Frontier Markets’ organization to the COVID-19 crisis and its ability to leverage its innovative tech platform to address the essential needs of the rural population on short notice confirm our full support and our trust in its trailblazing business model.”
By 2025, the company plans to grow to one million rural women entrepreneurs serving 100 million consumers with all types of products and services relating to agriculture, insurance and environment to drive economic empowerment in Bharat India.
“Post-COVID, what was “socially good” has now become essential and urgent – Frontier Markets is leveraging upon the untapped opportunity of 900 million rural consumers through rapid expansion of its technology platform and its network of digitally enabled women micro entrepreneurs,” remarked Virginia Tan, Founding Partner, Teja Ventures.
(Edited by Aparajita Saxena)
Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.
Original Source: yourstory.com
One of the more compelling innovations in fixed income emerging markets over the last decade is the currency-linked bond issue. This is a debt security which is denominated in one currency but settled in another, usually US dollars. In the emerging or frontier market context, this allows investors to gain exposure to and income from a high yielding currency whilst avoiding the complication of buying that currency itself.
Currency-linked bonds are impactful in development terms because they help to plot a yield curve where government issuance is often sparse. They mobilize foreign investment by tapping into international savings pools, and they support the financing of local currency loans and projects in developing countries.
The beauty of the product is its simplicity. Currency linked bonds are documented principally via a pricing supplement from Global Medium Term Note programs thereby avoiding the need for expansive offering circulars and onerous regulatory filings. Time-to-market is quick with issues mandated, launched, documented and settled within five business days. The bonds are cleared in international central securities depositaries and listed on major stock exchanges. Investors in currency-linked bonds have disparate pedigrees and can include central banks, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, pension funds and private banks.
Multilateral development banks (MDBs) are benchmark issuers of currency-linked bonds, since our AAA ratings allow investors to disassociate the currency risk from the credit risk. In some cases, MDBs treat such issues as arbitrage trades, since they don’t need the proceeds in the denomination currency.
For example, when ADB issues bonds in Brazilian real, Mexican peso, Russian rubles or South African rand we simultaneously swap the proceeds into floating rate US dollars with a non-deliverable swap. This is because none of these countries are members of ADB and therefore we have no use for these currencies, although they do provide competitively priced sources of funding. On the other hand, when we issue currency-linked bonds in the currencies of our members we keep those funds for on-lending to development projects. This benefits borrowers by mitigating their currency risk.
Keeping the funds in local currency is not as straightforward as it sounds, since investors pay for their bond purchases in US dollars. To generate the local currency ADB undertakes an FX spot conversion selling dollars for the local currency. Spot FX settles on the second day after trade date (T+2), whereas new issues of bonds settle on the fifth day after trade date (T+5) so there is a mismatch and funding shortfall; we buy the local currency before receiving the money from bond investors. We can do this by dipping into ADB’s prudential liquidity buffers on a temporary basis to cover the three-day gap.
In frontier markets with few options for warehousing the proceeds of bond issues, ADB issues currency-linked bonds on a back-to-back basis with the underlying loan although we may build in an extra day’s cushion before disbursement.
Currency-linked bonds: A powerful tool for emerging markets
In mainstream emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines, we can hold the proceeds of our bond issues for significant periods of time until a project is ready for disbursement. We achieve this by investing the proceeds into government bonds of similar duration as an interest rate hedge. Since ADB’s currency-linked bond yields less than the corresponding government security, a positive carry is generated.
There are also opportunities for ADB to deliver broader development impact, by supporting local stock exchanges and working with local counterparties to manage cash and securities. For example, in February 2020, ADB issued a new 10-year, 8.5 billion Indian rupee-linked masala bond, and dual-listed the issue on our normal venue, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, as well as the Global Securities Market of India International Exchange at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City – International Financial Service Centre.
To date ADB has issued more than $1 billion equivalent of Indian rupee-linked masala bonds with maturities from two to ten years. We have also raised more than $200m equivalent in Philippine peso Boracay bonds and 15-year funding with our second Indonesian rupiah Komodo bond issue. This source of competitively priced funding has provided tangible support for ADB’s private sector operations, with micro-finance, renewable energy and infrastructure projects to the value of more than $716 million funded through currency-linked bonds over the last four years.
There are no limits on the denomination for currency-linked bonds, but investor demand can prove fickle. The pandemic has prompted a wholesale flight to quality and cash from global investors, with emerging markets and frontier markets impacted. But if investors won’t buy ADB’s local currency bonds, fortunately we can turn to alternative financing solutions to limit any fallout on project delivery.
Offshore currency-linked bond markets are helping to make currencies more resilient in developing countries by shepherding foreign investment and encouraging two-way flows. They further spur economic growth and development by complementing domestic capital markets, without crowding the government out of its own funding base.
Philippines, Indonesia, currency, bonds, treasuries, finance, central banks, fiscal management, bond markets, domestic capital marketsJonathan GrosvenorCountries: IndonesiaPhilippinesArticle
Original Source: blogs.adb.org