Bamboo Capital, CARE Enterprises to invest in early-stage SE Asia firms

Art workshop in rural Vung Tau, Vietnam. Photo: Dang Nguyen/Unsplash

Private equity firm Bamboo Capital Partners and CARE Enterprises (CEI), a for-profit subsidiary of CARE USA, have formed a strategic partnership that will invest in early-stage companies that benefit the most marginalized communities in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.

In a joint statement, the two firms said the partnership will ensure that the investments will improve women’s access to finance, increase workplace equality policies and practices, and expand access to goods and services that help bring women into the formal economy.

“The tie-up will offer a range of flexible investment structures along the debt to equity spectrum, designed and tailored to accommodate different business models,” the companies said.

Bo Cutter, CARE Enterprises board member and former managing director of private equity firm Warburg Pincus, said the combined strengths of CARE and Bamboo will help the strategic partnership identify and support businesses that can deliver at scale in the region, both financially and socially.

“We want to be bold and believe that by working closely with Bamboo, we can develop new investment structures that meet the growing needs of businesses looking to improve the lives of people living in poverty across South and Southeast Asia,” Cutter said.

The partnership, announced at the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network Annual Conference in Singapore, seeks to improve the situation in a region where half of the population live below the international poverty line and where there is a lack of regional capital devoted to social investment.

“Enterprises in South and Southeast Asia typically fall into the global investment gap, being too large for grant funding and too small for traditional capital, and many face scaling issues as a result of inappropriate investment structures,” the two companies said.

Founded in 2007, Bamboo invests in businesses primarily in financial services, energy, and healthcare that leverage technology to have impact at scale in emerging markets. The firm has a team of 25 professionals active across Europe, South America, Africa and Asia.

CEI, meanwhile, is a subsidiary of CARE USA, a non-profit organization that works around the globe to “save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice”.

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