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IFC Supports Early-Stage Technology Startups in Central and Southeast Europe

Sofia, Bulgaria, June 25, 2021—Early-stage technology start-ups in Central and Southeast Europe will have improved access to finance, in the wake of an investment by IFC that aims to support the region's potential to foster technology development and application.

IFC has invested €15 million in the LAUNCHub Fund II—managed by LAUNCHub Fund II Management—a venture capital firm headquartered in Bulgaria. The Fund aims to provide increased access to early-stage equity and operational value add for technology start-ups in the region, which are underserved by venture capital thus hindering their growth. Given the growth of digital entrepreneurship during the COVID-19 pandemic, this funding is critical to help promising start-ups scale and strengthen their delivery of critical goods and services.

"The startup ecosystem for innovative tech companies in Central and Southeast Europe has transformed entrepreneurship in the region over the last decade," said Lyuben Belov, founding partner at LAUNCHub Ventures. "With the support of IFC, as an experienced and reputable institutional investor, we can go even further investing in the exceptional growth potential of the region."

The Fund will support start-ups that are developing technology-led innovative solutions to disrupt traditional business models. IFC's investment is expected to help drive competitiveness across targeted markets by increasing productivity and efficiency while bolstering the region's venture capital ecosystem.

"With their young and technology-savvy populations, countries in Central and Southeast Europe have a clear opportunity to invest in the digital economy," said Wiebke Schloemer, Director for Europe and Central Asia at IFC. "Our partnership with LAUNCHub Fund II will help more promising start-ups grow regionally and globally, create local jobs opportunities in the digital space, and fight the brain drain that is currently affecting the region."

IFC has supported the development of the private equity and venture capital funds in its Europe and Central Asia Region for over 20 years, with commitments of over $600 million in the region as of April 2021.

About IFC

IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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About LAUNCHub Ventures

LAUNCHub Ventures is a leading early-stage venture capital fund manager with a focus on founders building technology companies from Southeastern and Central Europe (SEE & CEE). The fund manager invests between €300K and €2 million in scalable businesses with initial traction and has the capacity to continue supporting the funding needs of the portfolio companies in future rounds. For more information, visit www.launchub.com.