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Rural transformation enterprise Head Held High raises capital from I3N members

Angels of the Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I3N or I-cube-N), and Unilazer Ventures, amongst others, have invested INR 25 million into Bangalore-based Head Held High Services, a rural skills development and employment creation enterprise.

This is the third investment announcement this year by I3N, India's first impact angel network that unlocks HNI capital to fund young for-profit social enterprises. I3N angels investing in Head Held High include Pravin Gandhi, Jayesh Parekh, Reena Mithal, Prashant Thakker, and Sanjeev Shah.

Led by Madan Padaki, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, and Rajesh Bhat, CEO, Head Held High Services is transforming the contours of rural youth in India by putting them through an intensive five month residential training program that converts them into English-speaking, computer-literate, knowledge professionals. Post training, the youth are able to deliver services like BPO, Market Surveys, etc. from non-urban locations across various sectors like Agriculture, Health, Financial Inclusion and Education. Head Held High has also launched an Entrepreneur Forum that builds capacity for rural entrepreneurs and enables them to provide last-mile capability across sectors. Till date, Head Held High has trained over 800 youth in three districts across Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, generated jobs for 90% of its trainees, and uncovered new business opportunities with 50+ rural entrepreneurs.The company aims to operate in 100 districts across India by 2018, and empower 2 million rural youths in the next 10 years.

The investment by I3N and Unilazer will be used to scale up operations and ink important partnerships over the next 12 months. Speaking on the investment, Pravin Gandhi said, "With the support of the entire Intellecap ecosystem, I3N's USP lies in deep sourcing and screening of enterprises. By attracting HNI capital, this model has the potential to bring unparalleled scale to impact investing. An enterprise like Head Held High has a stellar team, tremendous impact on the ground, as well as high likelihood of attracting follow-on rounds of funding, which make for a strong investment case."

I3N has over 30 angels including HNIs and early stage funds, and is looking to add more active angels on the network this year. I3N Head Aditi Shrivastava said, "In addition to showcasing deals, a large part of our effort includes increasing the comfort level that HNIs have with the idea of investing into impact. We hold sectoral deep-dive sessions for HNIs to learn about deal activity and upcoming business models in impact sectors. We encourage HNIs to co-invest alongside funds on the network. Then when we showcase highly impactful enterprises such as Head Held High, there is a strong pull from the angels, which is exactly what we want to see."

Prior to Head Held High, Padaki also founded and sold MeritTrac, which is now India's largest career assessment firm. Padaki said, "We are privileged to have I3N as a partner in our journey. With their network of investors, deep understanding of the impact investing space, and dedication of the team, our experience in this fund raising process has been very good."

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