IFC Invests US$2m in Early Stage Fund SeedPlus
International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has made US$2 million equity investment in Singapore-based VC firm SeedPlus to support early-stage technology entrepreneurship in Asia.
The firm takes an operational approach to its portfolio, and its three partners count time spent employed at tech giants like Yahoo, Evernote and Spotify. Its portfolio includes B2B repairs platform Moglix, Mimetic.ai, which manages an AI assistant platform, and mobile security firm AppKnox.
IFC’s investment will help SeedPlus to support up to 20 startups, helping fill the early-stage capital funding gap for high-growth companies, it said in a press statement. The programme will also help create hundreds of jobs and through its acceleration cycles, help support local entrepreneurship.
SeedPlus was launched by leading VC firm Jungle Ventures, in collaboration with SGInnovate, Accel Partners (India) and Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates, among others. Supported by Google and PwC Singapore, it is focused on investing in and helping build Asia’s most disruptive startups across SaaS, mobile, financial technology, Artificial Intelligence and cyber security and other emerging technology areas. SeedPlus invests up to US$1 million in each startup in Asia.
“The SeedPlus investment aligns with IFC’s Venture Capital group’s strategy to invest in innovative technology companies across emerging markets. Today, there are several fast-evolving, transformative technologies disrupting key industry sectors, enabling entrepreneurship and innovation to flourish in emerging markets, particularly in Southeast Asia, which we see as a growing market for us this year,” IFC’s head of Asia investments Pravan Malhotra said in a statement.
SeedPlus is focused on investing in companies that target large addressable markets in Asia and have the ability to expand on a global scale. Some recent examples include Homage, an on-demand caregiving platform for the elderly in Singapore; Moglix, an Indian B2B e-commerce platform specialising in the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) industry; and Mimetic.ai, the company behind Evie, an AI scheduling assistant.
SeedPlus is run by three operating partners — Michael Smith Jr, who was CTO at streaming service HOOQ; former Spotify product manager Gabriel Lundberg; and Tiang Lim Foo, who led Evernote’s market development in Asia Pacific.
IFC has previously committed US$10 million to Jungle Ventures’ second fund, along with a US$10 million co-investment vehicle, which will invest in early stage technology companies in emerging markets of Southeast Asia.
Four investment firms – Jungle Ventures, Infocomm Investments, Accel Partners, and RNT Associates – have come together to launch a seed stage venture capital firm in Singapore.
Called SeedPlus, it reportedly has a fund size of US$20 million, though the firm tells Tech in Asia that the actual size is still being finalized. It’ll invest US$500,000 to US$1 million per startup.
SeedPlus has three operating partners, Michael Smith, who was chief product officer at streaming service HOOQ, Gabriel Lundberg, product manager at Spotify, and Tiang Lim Foo, who led Evernote’s business development in Asia Pacific. We previously reported that they joined Jungle Ventures.
Operating partners are essentially people in VC firms who focus on increasing the value of portfolio companies using their knowledge and experiences.
The fund will hunt for promising startups among startup accelerators in the region. “SeedPlus is focusing on investing in companies that are targeting large addressable markets and have the ability expand globally,” it said.
IFC: International Finance Corporation
International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. IFC is a dynamic organization, constantly adjusting to the evolving needs of our clients in emerging markets.
The IFC has created a mass market certification system for fast growing Emerging Markets called EDGE (“Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies”). IFC and the World Green Building Council have partnered to accelerate green building growth in developing counties. The target is to scale up green buildings over a seven-year period until 20% of the property market is saturated. Certification occurs when the EDGE standard is met, which requires 20% less energy, water, and materials than conventional homes.
IFC’s three businesses – Investment Services, Advisory Services, and IFC Asset Management – are mutually reinforcing, delivering global expertise to clients in more than a 100 developing countries. We provide both immediate and long-term financing, and we combine it with advice that helps companies grow quickly and sustainably – by innovating, raising standards, mitigating risk, strengthening the investment climate, and sharing expertise across industries and regions.