International Financial Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, has injected a $2 million equity investment in SeedPlus in order to support early stage technology startups in Asia.
The Singapore-based seed stage venture fund was incorporated by VC firm Jungle Ventures in association with SGInnovate, Accel Partners (India) and Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates, among others. It aims to invest in startups specializing in different arenas including mobile, financial technology, artificial intelligence, cyber security, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and other emerging technology fields.
With plans to inject up to $1 million in each startup, the fund targets firms that focus on large Asian markets and can expand globally.
Pravan Malhotra, IFC’s venture capital lead for Southeast Asia and Asia Internet investments, said this investment completely syncs with IFC’s Venture Capital group’s strategy to “invest in innovative technology company across emerging markets. He further states,
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.
Supported by Google and PwC Singapore, it intends in helping to create Asia’s most disruptive startups.
The deal is a part of IFC Startup Catalyst program (ISC), which supports entrepreneurs and early-stage companies through investments in various seed stage structures. This investment will enable SeedPlus to back up to 20 early stage companies, helping fill the early stage capital funding gap for high growth companies. Also, this program will help create hundreds of jobs and through its acceleration cycles, thereby helping in supporting local entrepreneurship.
Rana Karadsheh, IFC’s Country Manager for Singapore, mentioned IFC can play a prominent role as a seasoned investor and advisor amid Singapore’s role as a pioneer of tech talent and rising hub for venture funding. He went on to add,
IFC’s funding and direct investments in portfolio companies will boost seed capital availability, mobilize institutional capital and will better position companies for follow-on funding, sustainability, and job creation.
SeedPlus is run by three operating partners – Michael Smith Jr, former CTO at HOOQ, ex-Spotify product manager Gabriel Lundberg and Tiang Lim Foo, who led Evernote’s market development in Asia Pacific.
IFC has previously committed $10 million to Jungle Ventures’ second fund, along with a $10 million co-investment vehicle, which will also focus on early stage technology companies in Southeast Asia.
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