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IFC Invests in SeedPlus to Boost Technology Entrepreneurship in Asia

Singapore, March 16, 2017 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a $2 million equity investment in SeedPlus, a seed stage venture fund based in Singapore, to support early stage technology entrepreneurship in Asia.
SeedPlus was launched by Jungle Ventures, a Singapore-based venture capital firm, 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 start-ups across software-as-a-service (SaaS), mobile, financial technology, artificial intelligence and cyber security and other emerging technology areas. SeedPlus will invest up to $1 million in each startup in Asia.
The investment falls under the IFC Startup Catalyst program (ISC) , which supports entrepreneurs and early stage companies through investments in various seed stage structures. IFC’s investment will help SeedPlus support up to 20 early stage companies, helping fill the early stage capital funding gap for high growth companies. The program will help create hundreds of jobs and through its acceleration cycles, help support local entrepreneurship.
“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,” said Pravan Malhotra, IFC’s venture capital lead for Southeast Asia and Asia Internet investments.
“Singapore's role as Southeast Asia’s hub for venture funding and tech talent will only continue to grow, and amid this landscape, IFC can play an increasingly vital role as a seasoned investor and advisor. The platform also aligns with IFC’s approach to build and support local, sustainable ecosystems for entrepreneurship and venture capital in emerging markets. 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,” said Rana Karadsheh, IFC’s Country Manager for Singapore.
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 Moglix, an Indian B2B e-commerce platform specializing in the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) industry, and Mimetic.ai, a Singaporean technology startup responsible for creating Evie, an artificial intelligence (AI) scheduling assistant.
“Venture funding is more than just the capital; it is about finding the right partners for your business. From Day 1, not only have SeedPlus been trusted advisors, they have also rolled up their sleeves to lend their deep operational expertise. That’s real partnership, and we feel very privileged to be part of the SeedPlus team of companies,” said Praveen Velu, co-founder of Mimetic.ai.
The fund 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 $10 million to Jungle Ventures’ second fund, along with a $10 million co-investment vehicle, which will invest in early stage technology companies in emerging markets of Southeast Asia.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .
IFC has a dedicated venture capital group that invests in sustainable technology-driven ventures that make an impact in emerging markets. Our goal is to spur innovation globally. The venture capital group invests both in local companies based in emerging markets, as well as in tech ventures based in developed markets with business solutions geared towards emerging markets. IFC’s VC team typically invests $3 to $30 million in mid-to-late stage ventures in the internet, healthtech, edutech, and cleantech sectors. For more information, visit www.ifc.org/vc .  
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