British International Investment

iMerit Inc.

South AsiaCommunications & IT services

iMerit was founded in 2012 with the vision of bringing a diverse talent pool from underserved backgrounds into the digital workforce. The company employs 3,000 workers, over half of whom are women, across India, Bhutan and the USA.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

Our investment

Description of the investment.

Our investment in iMerit underlines our commitment to back companies that are creating skilled jobs, particularly for women, in regions where they are most needed. Advances in AI technology are normally seen as a threat to jobs, but iMerit has demonstrated that the opposite is true.

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

Promote economic inclusion by creating jobs for the bottom 60 per cent of the population (SDG 10.1 & 10.2 & SDG 8.2, 8.5).

How?

How?

Our capital will create jobs through business expansion and consistent wage increases, along with supporting growth of ‘impact workforce’.

Who?

Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Employees

80 per cent of the workers employed by iMerit reside in some of the poorest States in India and Bhutan. In India, 70 per cent of employees work outside tier 1 or 2 cities.

About 50 per cent of iMerit’s employees live under $5.5 per person per day while 52 per cent of the workforce identify as female.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration

We anticipate that the company will create 9.000 new jobs over the lifetime of our investment. In terms of absolute number of jobs created per $1 million revenue, iMerit’s scale corresponds to the top quartile of all our investments made.

  1. Income increase: iMerit’s entry level wages are double the on-entry average household income. Going forward, we anticipate the average year-on-year wage increase to be at least 10 per cent, outpacing the 5 per cent income growth rate that is typically experienced by India’s bottom 40 per cent.

  2. Progression and quality of work: We expect over 900 workers to get internal promotions into leadership positions by 2024. iMerit meets international standards on job quality and has progressive employment policies such as maternity and paternity leave, 30 days paid leave, medical insurance, free health check-ups, pension etc.

  3. Impact at the household and community level – 46 per cent of the workers have resumed education after joining iMerit, 85 per cent were supporting family members to pursue education, and 60 per cent had improved the sanitation systems within their household.

An end-beneficiary impact study that we conducted with a third-party in 2021 confirmed that the impact thesis at the time of investment holds true and that iMerit is deepening its impact over time.

Contribution/additionality

Contribution/additionality
  • Financial additionality: Capital is not offered on the same terms by others.
  • Value additionality: We aim to put together a Board Charter to define the company's impact workforce as per global standards, and to integrate this into the core business so it can be tracked 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.

3.47

Risk

Execution Risk
  • the impact case relies on the company’s ability to train the inclusive workforce on complex work.

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.

    :
    June 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.

    :
    D4288
    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
    Country

    The countries where the investment delivers impact. Where impact is delivered in multiple countries, this is indicated.

    :
    Bhutan, India
    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 :
    Equity
    Start date :
    December 2019
    Amount :
    $18m
    Currency of investment :
    USD
    Domicile

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    :
    USA
    2X Gender Finance

    Indicates whether the investment is ‘2X qualified’ using the 2X Challenge criteria. You can find out more here. It only applies to investments made from 2018 onwards, when the 2X Challenge was first launched.

    :
    Fully qualified

Related investments made by BII into this company:

Investment name Commitment Region Sector Start date Status
Investment 02 $12.8m South Asia Communications & IT services November 2021 Active

Subscribe to receive our latest news and updates