The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will make an equity investment in Singapore-based SeedPlus, an early-stage investment fund that is raising $18.07 million (S$25 million) to support 20 early stage companies in Southeast Asia and India, primarily in the ICT sector.
This investment will fall under the IFC Startup Catalyst program, which supports entrepreneurs and early stage companies through investments in various seed stage structures, IFC said in a filing.
SeedPlus is a joint entity that saw Jungle Ventures collaborate with venture capital (VC) partners Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), Accel Partners (India) and RNT Associates. Two strategic partners in this joint entity are Google South East Asia and PwC Singapore.
According to the IFC, the proposed equity commitment (in Seed is up to $2 million, not exceeding 20 per cent of total commitments.
As reported by DEALSTREETASIA earlier, IFC is also an investor in Jungle Ventures’ second fund, which has a target of $100 million.
International Finance Corporation has invested $10 million in the Jungle’s second fund and plans to infuse a further $10 million for co-investment alongside the Singapore firm’s vehicle.
With SeedPlus targeting investments in Southeast Asia and India, the expected development impact will see them support up to 20 early-stage portfolio firms and fill the early-stage capital gap. It is also aligned with the IFC imperative of building and supporting sustainable local ecosystems for entrepreneurship and venture capital.
In terms of sectoral focus, SeedPlus is already targeting investments in marketplace, e-commerce, mobile, fintech, machine learning / artificial intelligence and cyber security sectors.
Earlier this year, SeedPlus has appointed Michael Smith Jr from streaming service HOOQ, where he was CTO, Gabriel Lundberg, previously product manager at Spotify, and Tiang Lim Foo, who led Evernote’s market development in the Asia Pacific, as operating partners to spearhead its activities.
With regard to job creation, SeedPlus expects its graduated companies to create more than 100 new jobs in the near-term, as well as pollinating local startup ecosystems with talent and building expertise in these companies through the relatively long acceleration cycle, deep engagement on operations, access to networks and follow on funding through the Jungle Ventures platform.
The investment by the IFC will also offer the SeedPlus team support in the form of advisory services and potential co-investment in follow-on rounds.
According to the SeedPlus website, the firm invests S$500k to S$1 million in early stage ventures on market terms, coupled with helping the firm “grow to profit or the next round of funding through our network and our full-time operating partners”, with a preference for firms that have their core teams based in Singapore.