Early-stage investing in emerging markets is hard. A commitment to serve low-income customers makes it even more challenging. Scaling that up around the world? Next to impossible.
Capria Network thinks it has cracked the code. With its latest $2 million in investments in early-stage impact funds in west Africa, South Africa, Colombia and Brazil, the Seattle investment firm now has stakes in nine emerging market fund managers investing in businesses providing low and lower-middle income customers in emerging markets with life- and environment-enhancing products and services.
That makes Capria one of the largest venture fund networks in the world, and the largest with a social-impact mission. In the tech-centric VC world, the Draper Venture Network and 500 Startups also take stakes in many independent fund managers as a way to extend their reach and generate dealflow.
“We similarly leverage the network effects of a growing and interconnected group, committed to help one another and collaborate deeply,” says Capria’s Will Poole, a former Microsoft executive who cut his own impact investing teeth by launching Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund), now first among Capria’s network. “It would be impossible to realize our ambitious goals if we were trying to do all this work ourselves.”