Seedstars closes $30 million emerging market seed stage fund

Seedstars has launched its second emerging market seed-stage fund to invest in 100 pre-seed and seed-stage companies across Asia, Africa, MENA, and LATAM in the next 3 years.

Seedstars closes $30 million emerging market seed stage fund
Image credit: Seedstars

Seedstars has launched its second emerging market seed stage fund called Seedstars International Ventures II.

The firm announced the first close of the fund with $20 million committed by notable investors including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Visa Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Symbiotics.

Seedstars, is a seed-stage venture fund dedicated to emerging and frontier markets. Since 2013, the international investment and education company has supported over 90 emerging market venture ecosystems.

With this second emerging market seed stage fund, the venture fund will leverage this progress and invest in 100 pre-seed and seed-stage companies across Asia, Africa, MENA, and LATAM in the next 3 years.

Seedstars International Ventures II will be focused on companies building for the future of finance, commerce, health, work, and education, with follow-on investments up to Series A.

Seedstars investments so far cuts across 81 companies in over 30 countries, with category-leading investments in all regions including Omnibiz (Nigeria, backers include Musha Ventures and LoftyInc Capital), Foodics (MENA, backers include Sequoia and Prosus), MyRobin (Indonesia, backers include Accion Venture Lab and Antler), OlaClick (LATAM, backers include Meta and Google/Gradient) and Dastgyr (Pakistan, backers include Veon and SOSV), among others.

Speaking on the launch, Charlie Graham-Brown, a Seedstars Partner, comments, “I have no doubt about the abundance of talented founders or the market opportunities, but the challenges can’t be ignored. Our strategy innovates on so many levels to mitigate risk, be it through our country diversification, portfolio construction strategy, value creation platform, or the blended finance structure. We have a unique recipe, an incredible team, and backers in place to build on the success of the first fund and level the playing field for tech entrepreneurs around the world.”

The fund is co-anchored by four exceptional partners with significant emerging markets impact, and venture capital experience. They include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Visa Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and Symbiotics.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, co-anchored the fund. Visa Foundation is also aligned with its goal to support inclusive economies where individuals, businesses, and communities can thrive.

Najada Kumbuli, Head of Investments, shares, “Visa Foundation is proud to partner with Seedstars as they provide capital and technical assistance to businesses at the catalytic stage of their journeys.”

The Rockefeller Foundation’s commitment came through the Zero Gap Fund (ZGF), an impact fund launched in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and its flagship Catalytic Capital Consortium (C3).

ZGF deploys patient capital into promising, impact-driven financial strategies and mechanisms that seek to catalyse large-scale private investment in advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address the world’s biggest challenges.

Finally, the fund is supported by Symbiotics, the leading market access platform for impact investing, dedicated to private markets in emerging and frontier economies.

In addition to the four co-anchors, the fund is backed by a number of serial entrepreneurs, angel investors and family offices bringing significant tech and emerging market knowhow to the consortium.

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Seedstar is also set to formally debut Seedstars Capital, a fund platform for multiple regional and thematic funds. The platform’s first strategies include Seedstars International Ventures and Seedstars Africa Ventures with more funds set to be announced shortly.

Seedstars’ focus on supporting scalable technology companies in emerging markets, solving major societal challenges like access to finance, health, or education, and working closely with entrepreneurs to scale their businesses means that the impact thesis is embedded in the investment thesis. The fund also includes a blended finance component with a first-loss tranche that provides downside protection for investments in the lowest-income markets.