India's climate entrepreneurs are struggling to finance their future

(Eco Business, 25 Aug 2022) India's startup ecosystem is failing climate entrepreneurs, who are finding it difficult to secure funding. This could derail the country's climate ambitions.

When 24-year-old Shani Pandya wanted to launch a solar tree venture four years ago, he had to mortgage his parents’ home in the western Indian state of Gujarat to supplement the small seed capital that he got from the government. 

His ground-breaking project—solar panels mounted like leaves on a metal trunk—solved the problem of installing solar devices in crowded spaces. Within a few months, the company named Imagine Powertree secured several orders but needed more working capital to keep going. 

However, banks provided more finance only after Pandya mortgaged another family property. Now he plans to secure a bridge loan at exorbitant rates of 15-18 per cent to further expand his business.    

“It is very difficult for first generation climate entrepreneurs like myself to secure funding as banks are reluctant to provide capital. I have talked to multiple venture capital funds as well, but they say I have to look for specialised funds which are impact-driven,” says Pandya. 

While India produces more startups than anywhere in the world besides United States and China, clean tech start ups are unable to access capital as easily as other sectors mostly due to a lack of understanding of environmental technology and hazy government policies, say experts

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Eco Business, 25 Aug 2022: India's climate entrepreneurs are struggling to finance their future