Accion Venture Lab raising new fintech-focussed fund
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Seed-stage impact investor Accion Venture Lab said on Wednesday it is raising a $33-million (Rs 238 crore) fund that will use third-party capital for the first time.

The investment firm said in a statement it is mobilising $23 million for a co-investment vehicle with third-party investors and $10 million from global nonprofit Accion.

The fresh fundraise will take the Venture Lab’s total capital under management to $43 million.

Investors in Accion Venture Lab now include Dutch development bank FMO, the Ford Foundation, MetLife Foundation, the French Development Agency’s private-sector financing arm Proparco, Prudential Financial and Visa.

Accion estimates it would invest about 30% of the fresh capital in emerging markets in South and Southeast Asia.

Accion Venture Lab typically invests around $400,000-500,000 to buy minority stakes. For every dollar Accion Venture Lab has invested, its portfolio companies have raised an additional $13 in equity capital from later-stage investors, the statement said.

Michael Schlein, president and CEO at Accion, said fintech startups are finding new ways to provide products and services that help underserved people. “Yet, often startups lack the capital and strategic support they need to grow and scale their impact. Accion Venture Lab addresses this need.”

Accion Venture Lab — typically the first institutional investor in its portfolio companies — provides both capital and strategic and operational support across a broad range of functional areas.

Accion Venture Lab managing director Vikas Raj said there is strong potential for inclusive fintech startups to reach underserved communities while generating returns. “This new pool of capital enables us to scale our efforts and remain at the forefront of seed stage investing in inclusive fintech,” Raj said.

To an email query from VCCircle, the company said Accion Venture Lab has invested approximately $7 million in Asia till date. Asia investments are managed by director Paarul Dudeja while Vikas Raj and Tahira Dosani are the managing directors of Accion Venture Lab. In Asia, the company focuses on India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Pakistan.

Launched in 2012 with $10 million in capital, Accion Venture Lab has made several seed-stage fintech investments. It has invested in segments such as insurance-tech, agricultural finance, digital lending and personal financial management.

In January this year, Accion Venture Lab exited its four-year-old investment in non-banking financial company Aye Finance by selling its stake to a Denmark-based asset management firm.

Accion Venture Lab previously announced exits from Palo Alto- and Mexico City-based payments solutions company Clip in February 2017 and Indian lender Varthana in November 2016.

According to VCCEdge, the data research platform of Mosaic Digital, the Venture Lab’s India portfolio includes Toffcover Core Technologies Pvt. Ltd, CredRight Pvt. Ltd and SmartCoin Financials Pvt. Ltd. It has also invested in CreditMantri and SMEcorner.

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