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MSSE Alum Launches Social Venture in India

June 1, 2012

Sri Latha Ganti's (MSSE 2011) new project, MyRain LLC, has acquired funding to launch a for-profit social venture to boost local economies in India. Ganti is the co-founder and COO of MyRain, which offers efficient drip irrigation systems to rural farmers in developing countries.

Ganti's project began as the brainstorm of a team of participating in the 2010 Acara Challenge, a course and competition sponsored by the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment. The competition helps budding social entrepreneurs develop plans for businesses that make a positive change in the world. After completing the Acara competition, the project leaders incorporated their business and refined plans to the point where they could solicit funding from investors.

Having successfully completed the first of an anticipated two rounds of soliciting funds from angel investors, MyRain co-founder and CEO Steele Lorenz heads to India in June to launch the program on the ground. “The capital raised from our initial angel investment round is sufficient to fund MyRain’s first year of operations in the Tamil Nadu region of southern India,” said Lorenz.

“In many parts of rural India, small-plot farmers rely on flood irrigation, an approach that stunts crops and washes away valuable soil nutrients,” said Ganti. “By implementing drip irrigation, rural farmers can increase water and fertilizer efficiency by 20 to 50 percent and increase yields by 30 to 100 percent. MyRain also will stimulate local job creation by hiring salespeople from villages and training them to sell, construct and use drip irrigation systems.”

Fred Rose, co-director of Acara and a member of MyRain’s advisory board, says drip irrigation technology reaches only 5 percent of arable land in India despite its advantages. MyRain seeks to increase that number while creating sustainable economic development in the communities it serves. MyRain’s strategic partners include Acara and the Covenant Centre for Development.