International Finance Corporation, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank, is coming in as a limited partner (LP) in London-based Apis Partners LLP’s second fund targeting investments in financial services and technology, according to a disclosure by IFC.
IFC is proposing to commit up to $25 million in Apis Growth Fund-II, which aims to raise $400 million and has set a hard cap (maximum fund size) at $500 million.
The fund’s objective is to make mid-market growth-equity investments in financial services and technology segments such as payments, credit and savings, insurance, technology enablers, service providers and capital markets located in Africa and Asia (excluding China).
The primary focus countries include India, besides Cote d'Ivoire (country in West Africa), Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines.
London-based Apis Partners, a private equity and venture capital firm specialising in growth equity, early stage, and emerging growth opportunities, was founded by Matteo Stefanel and Udayan Goyal in April 2014. In March last year, Apis Growth Fund-I announced its final close with commitments of $287 million. It exceeded its target of $250 million and raised capital from development financial institutions, global financial institutions and fund-of-funds investors from Europe, North America, Africa and West Asia (the Middle East).
The investors in the final close included the African Development Bank, 57 Stars, Obviam (Switzerland), South Suez Capital (South Africa), Prudential Financial Inc. (US) and Sarona Asset Management (Canada).
In its first close in August 2015, the investors that made commitments include the Intesa Sanpaolo Group (Italy), CDC (UK), the European Investment Bank, FMO (Netherlands), Swedfund (Sweden) and Old Mutual (South Africa).
Among its early investments in India, Apis Partners placed bets on Mumbai-based Electronic Payment and Services and Chennai-based Star Health and Allied Insurance Company.
Late last year, green-energy startup Greenlight Planet, which has operations in India and Africa, raised $60 million (around Rs 387 crore) in a round led by London-based private equity fund manager Apis Partners.
International Finance Corporation
IFC makes both direct investments and LP investments in private equity and venture funds in India. In March, it came in as an LP in India Resurgent Fund, which has a mandate to acquire distressed assets. For IFC, this was one of the largest LP commitments for an India-focused fund.
In the same month, it also planned to back the investment fund floated by Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and Helion Ventures co-founder Sanjeev Aggarwal, called Fundamentum Partnership Fund-I.
In the past, it has bet larger sums in emerging markets funds of Abraaj Capital and I Squared that have India as a key investment mandate. Among India-only funds, it has committed $100 million or more in Macquarie-SBI Infrastructure Fund, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle.
Among its other recent LP commitments in India, it has supported Kedaara Capital’s second fund and IndoSpace Logistics Parks’ third fund. It has also backed Lighthouse’s third India mid-market private equity fund, besides supporting IDG Ventures, Stellaris Venture Partners and pi Ventures among venture capital funds.