British International Investment

Betterplace Safety Solutions Private Limited

South AsiaCommunications & IT services

BetterPlace is India’s largest blue-collar workforce management platform. It seeks to empower workers by giving them opportunities for job growth and upward
social mobility, and access to credit and health insurance.

Our investment

Description of the investment.

This investment is part of our 'VC Scale-up' strategy to support the growth of the most impactful companies in our venture capital funds portfolio. Our investment in this Indian blue-collar workforce platform will help to drive positive change in workers’ employment experience and broader access to benefits otherwise not available to them. The business also helps to improve labour market fragmentation and supply-demand mismatch. Betterplace will enhance access to economic opportunities, upskilling, financial and healthcare services for over 1.3 million blue collar workers by 2025, with at least 50 per cent of platform users likely to be living on less than $5.5 per day.

Impact information

Applies to investments made from 2019 onwards. The tabs in this section define what we expect to achieve through the investment, assessing the potential impact of the investment against six dimensions of impact. You can find more details on our methodology of assessing impact here.

What?

Impact
  • Increased income-generating opportunities (SDG 8.5)
  • Enhanced well-being through financial inclusion (SDG 8.10); Improved access to healthcare (SDG 3.8)

How?

Primary Secondary

Improve access to higher quality employment experience for blue-collar workers by growing the company’s three verticals of Hire (worker sourcing and onboarding), Manage (payroll and compliance), and Engage (training, credit, insurance, and healthcare access via partners).

  • Catalysing markets: As a first-mover in the space for end-to-end employment solutions for the blue-collar sector in India, BetterPlace can help prove the viability of this business model, spurring replication by other players. Early signposts of success are linked to the immediate growth and commercial success of the company. In the longer-term, success would be enhanced job quality standards for workers and greater compliance with labour laws across India.

Who?

Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Employees

Pan-India. Target customer mix within three years: 80 per cent India, 20 per cent South East Asia and Middle East. Within five years: 65 per cent India, 35 per cent South East Asia and Middle East.

Blue-collar workers, many of whom are likely to be living on less than $5.5 per day; 50 per cent of workers earn less than INR 21,000 per month month and 67 per cent of workers are unskilled or semi-skilled with 46 per cent of workers having completed 8th grade or less. 85 per cent of workers are below the age of 35 and the gender mix is 68 per cent men, 32 per cent women.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration

We expect the business to enable 25,000 placements per month by FY22, up from 5,000 per month currently, and 1.6 million total placements by FY25.

Training and upskilling: we expect 1.3 million workers to be trained by FY25, up from 750,000 in FY20.

Financial and healthcare services: Expected to reach 30,000 workers by FY21, up from 20,000 in FY20, with a total reach of 1.4 million by FY25.

Expected to be significant as workers experience improved regularity and transparency of income and formal contracts that are in line with local regulatory frameworks. Impact deeper for previously unemployed, workers in the informal economy or workers with previously lower income. Impact expected to be deep where workers gain enhanced access to financial services, healthcare and social security and enhanced employability (through upskilling and formalised track record). Lasting effects are expected on the labour market if the model is sustained and/or replicated.

Contribution/additionality

Contribution/additionality
  • Financial additionality: Allocation in the round has been relatively competitive, although we are confident that BII is not crowding out commercial investors.
  • Value additionality: As part of an environmental and social action plan (ESAP), we will work with 3one4 to consider best practice customer protection principles in the roll-out of ancillary financial service offerings for workers. We will also encourage worker survey implementation to validate depth of impact over time

Grid score

Grid Score

To help us direct our investments, we previously used a tool called the Development Impact Grid. It scored investments out of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in a country and the propensity of the sector to generate employment. This tool was used for investments until the end of 2021. Since 2022 it has been replaced by the Impact Score.

n/a

Risk

Execution Risk
  • risk of impact not materialising if company fails to deliver across verticals. This risk is linked to commercial risks and is to some extent mitigated by the quality of the solution provided (evidenced by customer references) and first mover advantage.
Unexpected Impact Risk
  • risk of adverse impacts from enabling easier access to temporary/part-time worker supply for large corporates, lowering company incentives to Increase proportion of permanent jobs and associated income stability. risk mitigated in part by Betterplace’s aim to drive up job quality standards through their platform design and offerings, but some Unexpected risk linked to corporate customer practices is likely to remain.
Unexpected Impact Risk
  • risk linked to ancillary financial services such as credit provided through third parties on the platform, negatively impacting workers if product offerings are not transparently marketed. Mitigation linked to implementation and monitoring of adequate customer protection principles.

Environmental and social information

  • Environmental and social summary

    A high-level description of the environmental and social aspects of the investment. This may include a summary of key environmental and social risks identified during environmental and social due diligence (ESDD); key elements of an environmental and social action plan (ESAP); or ways in which we plan to support the investee improve environmental and social standards, such as through their environmental and social management system (ESMS); as well as any other priority areas agreed with the investee.

  • Environmental and social risk

    A risk category rating, which indicates the level of environmental and social risk associated with an investment. For an explanation of the categorisations used, see here. We consistently provide an environmental and social risk category for all investments screened from 2023 onwards.

Environmental and social summary

We partnered with our fund manager to co-invest in this company, including by relying on our fund manager's ESDD. BII developed an environmental and social action plan with the investee, which included items related to labour and working conditions, partner onboarding and monitoring, and client protection.

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    :
    March 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.

    :
    D5023
    Status

    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).

    :
    Active
    Region

    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    :
    South Asia
    Sector

    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    :
    Communications & IT services

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Debt
    Start date :
    January 2023
    Amount :
    $2m
    Currency of investment :
    INR
    Domicile

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    :
    India

Related investments made by BII into this company:

Investment name Commitment Region Sector Start date Status
Investment 01 $3m South Asia Communications & IT services September 2021 Active

Subscribe to receive our latest news and updates