iMerit

South Asia Education

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

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

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?

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

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.

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.

Grid Score Contribution

3.47

To help us direct our investments, we use a tool called the Development Impact Grid. The Grid scores every investment we plan out of a score of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in the country and whether investment in that sector will lead to jobs.

  • Financial: Capital is not offered on the same terms by others.
  • Value add: 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.
Risk
  • Execution: The impact case relies on the company’s ability to train the inclusive workforce on complex work.

Key facts

Status:
Active
Region

Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.

:
South Asia
Countries:
Bhutan, India
Sector

We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people.

:
Education
Investment type

We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).

:
Direct Equity
Start date

For direct investments, this is the date British International Investment committed capital to the business or project.

For funds, this is the date that British International Investment committed capital to the fund.

For underlying fund investments, this is the date that the fund invested capital into the business.e

:
December 2019
Amount

For direct investments, this is the total amount that British International Investment has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).

For funds, this is the total amount that British International Investment has committed to the fund.

:
$30.8m
Domicile

This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.

:
USA

We are now British International Investment