Seedstars launched its second emerging market seed stage fund, Seedstars International Ventures II. The firm announced the first close of the fund with $20 million committed by notable investors including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Visa Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Symbiotics.
Seedstars is a seed-stage venture fund dedicated to emerging and frontier markets. The fund invests across Asia, Africa, CEE, MENA, and LATAM with a focus on backing ventures that are solving key societal challenges such as access to financial services, healthcare, education, or commerce.
Since its launch nine years ago, Seedstars has invested in 81 companies in over 30 emerging markets. Now it’s set a goal of investing in 100 more startups with the launch of its second emerging market seed-stage fund, called Seedstars International Ventures II (SIV), with a first close of $20 million.
The fund is expected to total $30 million and its goal is to invest in pre-seed and seed-stage startups in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin American over the next three years, with follow-on investments up to Series A.
One example of Seedstars’ portfolio company in Latin America is OlaClick, a CRM for restaurants to facilitate direct-to-consumer e-commerce by providing them with point of sale, customer management services, and the ability to digitize menus.
For Seedstars Fund II, initial checks will be between $150,000 to $250,000, with potential follow-on investments of $500,000. It will also have a tighter geographical focus. Specifically, they will focus on Mexico in Latin America.
Gender equity has also been a core focus for Seedstars, pointing to data that women represent just 23%, and only 11% of enterprises that attain seed funding in emerging markets are women-led. The team is 50:50 gender balanced at all levels and the first fund has 26% female co-founded businesses.
The fund is on track to meet the 2X Challenge and aims to reduce bias through its data-driven selection process with further plans to implement diversity and inclusion training for portfolio companies.