It is said that the early bird gets the worm. Swiss pre-seed and seed-stage venture capital firm Seedstars clearly has the same idea, and it reinforced this belief by supporting over 90 emerging market venture ecosystems in its nine-year-old run. Now, it is continuing the good work by laying the “seeds” for a successful run and solving the issue of initial funding crunch for several startups across regions.
This will be done through its second and latest fund, the Seedstars International Ventures (SIV) II, which will invest in 100 startups (those that exhibit the potential to succeed in the big leagues) in the seed-stage round.
In an official statement, the VC firm also announced the first close of the SIV II Fund with $20 million, an amount committed by its investors such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Visa Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Symbiotics. The fund is expected to reach a total amount of $30 million.
The capital will be invested across the pre-seed and seed-stage startups in Asia, Africa, the Middle-East, and Latin American countries over the next three years. To add to this, Seedstars is committed to make follow-on investments up to the Series A funding rounds. The investments, according to Seedstars, will mostly be done into companies that focus on finance, commerce, health, work and education.
This will be a boon for startups in emerging markets, which face a variety of challenges such as funding, health, and education, and often struggle to stay afloat and compete with their foreign, established counterparts. The situation has been made more dire since startups and major businesses alike are currently scrambling to raise funds, valuations and stocks are plummeting, and investors are evaluating risks.
This is an area where the SIV II, with its initial checks falling between $150,000 to $250,000 and follow-on investments of $500,000, will be needed. The fund, which plans to follow on 25% of its portfolio, will also focus on specific countries in the regions – according to a TechCrunch report, the fund will focus on Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines in Southeast Asia, Egypt in the Middle East, Pakistan and Bangladesh in South Asia, Mexico in Latin America, and several countries in Africa.
“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,” said Charlie Graham-Brown, Seedstars Partner.
It remains to be seen whether the SIV II is as successful as its predecessor. Seedstar’s first such fund had invested in 81 companies across 30 countries, and includes in its portfolio names such as Pakistani e-commerce upstart Dastgyr, Foodics in the Middle East, Indonesia’s MyRobin, and Nigeria’s B2B marketplace Omnibiz.