Abhijit Ray: A Finance Aficionado With Considerable Transactional Experience

Unitus Capital

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The economic slowdown and negative sentiments post the IL&HS and DHFL crises have dented investors’ confidence. However, Abhijit Ray the Co-founder and Managing Director of Unitus Capital (UC) and UC Inclusive Credit (UCIC) believes that such setbacks are temporary. He anticipates strong possibilities of growth for various businesses in India.

Unitus Capital was founded in July 2008 to accelerate the development of local and international capital markets for the benefit of businesses delivering deep social, financial and environmental impact. Since launch, it has been committed to delivering best-in-class investment banking services that unlock the capital needed to fuel the rapid and sustainable growth of businesses, which are committed to positively impact the lives of low-income populations.

Delivering Capital, Changing Lives

Unitus Capital is very selective in deciding the businesses and the entrepreneurs to work with. The approach of the company is different from others. “We are not just focused on a narrow approach of merely raising capital; rather, we focus more on building and nurturing a long-term, deeper relationship with the client by understanding their business, operational procedures, fund-raising requirement, governance standards, capital structure, etc. and work towards providing the best guidance on these areas,” explained Abhijit. The team aims to become a friend and a guide rather than just a service provider or an investment banker. This resultant collaborative approach ensures optimum and efficient use of productive resources from both sides, which has resulted in a higher success rate in a shorter span of time.

Instrumental in Unitus’ Development and Success

Abhijit’s journey was highly inspired by his parents’ struggle. He belonged to an immigrant family and had seen his parents struggle, in order to establish themselves in a new country. While working for the SIDBI, Abhijit visited remote villages in different parts of India, it was when he realized that India is a developing country, and hence, the development should be focused on the overall community and not just the individuals. He felt that there was a demand to set up and build community-focused institutions and socially focused companies. The 2008 subprime crisis acted as the catalyst to the idea as it did astound the financial markets worldwide. With Eric Savage (Co-founder and CEO) and a couple of others, the idea of Unitus Capital took final shape and the duo decided to bring together impact-focused investors. “Anything that is disruptive attracts investor interest,” quoted Abhijit.

Abhijit has over 26 years of diverse experience in Investing Banking, NBFC lending, development finance, commercial banking, and microfinance. He has played a key role in developing and building the Unitus Capital’s business, particularly in the financial inclusion space. Today, in the 12th year of operations, he is happy to state that UC has become a name to reckon with as the Investment Banker of choice for investors and businesses, which are not only scaling very fast but also creating great social, environmental, and financial impact through their amazing work.

Abhijit has a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Kolkata University and is a Certified Associate of IIBF, Mumbai. He has also attended the School of Applied Microfinance Program in Kenya and the Program on Strategic Leadership for Microfinance at the Harvard Business School. Abhijit has also co-authored articles on microfinance in international journals and is regularly quoted in leading national dailies in India.

Marshal the resources effectively and efficiently

A business leader needs to marshal his resources effectively and efficiently. Thus, Abhijit is responsible for inter alia, setting the organizational culture as well as build an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration for the best results. Being a leader, he is also responsible for instilling confidence in the team members, work on their weaknesses, and build on the strength as well as collaborate with a strong base of advisors, mentors, and experts to guide the team ahead in his absence.

Abhijit further says, “As a boutique investment banker, my major challenge would be to bring together passionate entrepreneurs who want to build large-scale businesses in various sectors and a group of seasoned, impact-focused investors with a hunger to take mid to long-term risks.”

India Becoming a Major Player in APAC Region

Over the years, Abhijit has observed that India is one of the fastest-growing economies, and is positioned to become a major player in the APAC region. He believes that as a country with a young, educated population, a massive underpenetrated market, consolidation of the banking industry, favorable policy environment, and ease of doing business, India offers immense potential for businesses to become unicorns. Let alone last year India witnessed the rise of the highest number of unicorns viz. 10 and there is immense potential for many more to build. This makes India a great investment option for investors to focus on making large investments in multiple sectors over the next few years, as highly scalable businesses would ensure successful exits for them. Therefore, Abhijit suggests that investors across the globe should take notice of the vast opportunity and continue investing in India in a big way.

Target is to be continuously successful

Unitus Capital’s main target is to continue successfully closing more transactions for various impactful businesses this year. Presently, Unitus Capital has worked with over 120 companies, and by 2020 it aims to raise money for 150 enterprises. “If we’re successful in doing so, I would count it as a great achievement for UC, irrespective of the revenue we achieve during that period,” concluded Abhijit.

Investment Mantra:

Focus on the promoter of the company and his team. Assess their technical capability and their ability to deliver results. Analyze the market size and investment climate prior to investing. Most importantly, evaluate if the investment will grow big enough to ensure a timely exit.

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West has been driving the business world owing to its developed economies. The leading part of the world is straining to sustain its dominance. However, the other parts of the world, especially Asia Pacific region have been displaying escalating growth in terms of business and technological advancements.

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