In India, too many families lack the funding they need for housing. When we first partnered with Shubham in 2012, our goal was to make the dream of homeownership a reality for more low-income and financially underserved Indians. Five years later, the business has disbursed almost 30,000 loans to help people purchase or improve their homes.
Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to get to know some of the people who have received these loans. We met Kusum Lata in northern India. Since she gets paid in cash for her job on an auto parts assembly line, she didn’t have an established financial record to help her get a loan. But Shubham’s holistic approach to evaluating borrowers allowed her to get the funds she needed to build a home for her family. We also got to know Hoshiyar Singh, who was able to develop his water pump manufacturing business without any outside financial help. Despite this achievement, home ownership still loomed out of his reach. A loan from Shubham allowed him to move out of his parents’ house and start a more independent life for him and his teenage children.
Like Kusum and Hoshiyar, too many people can’t come up with the funds to invest in the stability and autonomy that a home affords. Each of Shubham’s 30,000 loans has a story behind it — a growing family, an ambitious business owner, an independent, young professional — and the impact that having a home can make in these individuals’ lives is enormous.
Shubham has had a broader, indirect effect as well. When it began operations, there weren’t many options for low-income families in India to get financing for housing. Today, there are several similar services — including established financial providers — working to offer lower-income Indians the financing that they need. Supporting Shubham with the resources it needed to scale its efforts helped to catalyze a new product, and now more people will be able to afford homes.
We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with Shubham. The time has come for Accion to exit the partnership, but we’re confident Shubham’s poised to continue making an impact. Shubham’s success drew the interest of Premji Invest, the largest single-family private equity firm in India. Premji is taking a significant ownership position in the company. With Premji Invest, Shubham will have the resources that it needs to expand and continue its work and create a housing market that works for India’s financially underserved.
Like Accion Venture Lab’s successful exits from Varthana and Clip, the sale of our stake in Shubham demonstrates that inclusive financial service providers can both advance social progress and generate positive financial returns. Those returns will help us continue developing new partnerships that in turn encourage further innovation and competition — they will help us provide families with opportunity all around the world.