Kadam Haat &
Hearth Ventures saw in Kadam Haat an opportunity to build a ‘Made in India’ global basketry brand while achieving both positive environmental impact and artisan empowerment.
Compulsorily Convertible Preference Shares
Compulsorily Convertible Preference shares (CCPS) are an equity-linked instrument, offering investors a fixed income and where shares compulsorily convert into equity shares after a period of time, as stated in the contract. CCPS are also anti-dilution securities and help founders manage their equity stake to retain control by having a substantial stake in the company.
60% - 90%
NO. OF ARTISANS
Kadam was set up in 2006 as a nonprofit to create livelihoods in rural India by empowering women and youth in rural India, training them in crafts using local, natural materials. They have partnered with 1000 artisans and craft communities to use locally grown natural fibres such as sabai grass, bamboo, and cotton to make eco-friendly, fashionable homeware.
Kadam Haat — a social enterprise set up in 2008 as the marketing arm of Kadam — is a sustainable, handmade basketry brand from rural India marketing their products around the world. Kadam Haat represents the market-centric, D2C pivot many HCMs try to make as they shore up the front-end to generate sufficient demand for their backend.
of Kadam’s 1000 rural artisans are women. Kadam organised self-sustaining craft clusters, ensuring economic stability and livelihood opportunities.
Kadam / Kadam Haat are among the many HCMs that take a hybrid approach to growth and impact. While Kadam needs the support to magnify socioeconomic impact, Kadam Haat needs the capital and the expertise to navigate the world of formal brand and business. This two-way challenge limits scale at both ends of the spectrum.
Kadam Haat wanted to expand their footprint to further scale their impact but needed growth capital for procuring inventory, brand building, customer acquisition, hiring professionals and creating an enabling infrastructure that would support their ambitious sales projections. For this, they needed an involved and patient investor that could support in creating growth plans based on the enterprise's current metrics to futuristic growth based on their existing trained artisanal base.
Hearth Ventures is unique in its primary focus to invest and scale enterprises in the craft sector. The team at Hearth Ventures piloted their approach trying to support Kadam, the nonprofit. In the process, they realised that for artisanal clusters to thrive, they needed to bolster their selling arm i.e Kadam Haat.
Hearth Ventures approached Kadam Haat’s need as not just one for capital but an opportunity for a joint venture. Hearth Ventures invested ₹2.7 crores ($337,500) into Kadam Haat via Compulsorily Convertible Preference Shares and provided the enterprise with all the business and intellectual capital they would need to succeed. This capital was meant to help Kadam Haat structure their retail operations by hiring the right professionals and investing in marketing to create a virtuous cycle of growth. Additionally, Hearth Ventures is also helping the enterprise build a robust sales team, create enough demand for the products, enable artisans to source raw materials predictably, and get the right price for their efforts.
“A conventional venture investor might have looked at 3-4 years for an exit. We think this might take 7-8 years, and are in for the long haul. There is a prevailing belief that returns will be lower with impact enterprises. But, we believe that returns will be regular as long as we accommodate longer investment horizons.”
— VINAYAK KAMATH, CO-FOUNDER & PARTNER, HEARTH VENTURES
Hearth Ventures is India’s first mentor fund for craft and circular economy enterprises. They invest in enterprises with global ambitions, respect for artisans and sustainability, and support them with growth capital, access to market linkages, and business mentoring.
This investment was able to spearhead Kadam Haat’s ability to grow exponentially in the short term so it can handle its offtake obligations to Kadam. They needed freedom to spend capital, control their vision, and time to experiment and enable change. Hearth Venture’s investment is playing a catalytic role in helping Kadam Haat secure follow-on debt capital.
With the right venture-building efforts, there is an opportunity for Hearth Ventures’ investment to generate sustainable, full-time employment for 5000 artisans and build a ₹10 crore ($1.25 million) brand with a growing global footprint in the next five years.
“Hearth Ventures helped us with what we needed — right from support in creating a growth plan based on current metrics to futuristic growth based on our current trained artisan base, to support in marketing strategies, to identifying the right hires. What makes them different is the mentoring support we receive for Kadam Haat to leverage its dream in addition to the funding they extend without having to worry about mission-drift.”
— PAYAL NATH, CO-FOUNDER, KADAM HAAT
Provide patient capital that truly appreciates the enterprise’s theory of change and impact and is willing to help it scale.
Features of catalytic capital in this case:
Patient: Deploys patient, risk capital to achieve product market fit and scalability.
Ensured follow-on capital: Hearth Venture’s involvement and transformation of Kadam Haat helped the HCM have a clear business plan with precise targets and how to achieve them. This gave them market credibility to get Revenue-Based Financing through suppliers, further easing the working capital crisis that plagues HCMs.
HCMs with clarity in terms of business plan and goals tend to attract more capital and grow as a result of it — success begets success.
Facilitates mission-led + for-profit growth: The investor believes in the HCM’s purpose and builds out their business by assisting in marketing, business plans and process so they can deliver regular returns, not lower returns while still delivering on impact.