Apis Partners collects over $157 mln for initial fund

Apis Partners LLP has raised over $157 million for its debut fund. The focus of Apis Growth Fund I will be on the financial services sector in Africa and South Asia. The vehicle’s limited partners included Intesa Sanpaolo, Old Mutual, the European Investment Bank, FMO and Swedfund.

PRESS RELEASE

LONDON, 10 August, 2015 – Apis Partners LLP, a private equity asset manager focused on financial services in the growth markets of Africa and South Asia, today announced the first close of its inaugural Apis Growth Fund I (the “Fund”), very significantly above target with commitments of over US$ 157 million.

The Fund has attracted several institutional investors and financial institutions from Europe, North America and Africa. These include Intesa Sanpaolo and Old Mutual, as well as leading developmental finance Institutions (DFIs) such as CDC (UK), the European Investment Bank, FMO (Netherlands) and Swedfund (Sweden). Investors have been attracted by Apis’ offering of a unique investment thesis, its impact mandate, its attractive investment pipeline and a highly experienced team.

Among these investors, Apis counts a number of global financial services institutions, who recognise the role that Apis and the Fund can play in facilitating direct access to innovation in Financial Services originating from Africa and South Asia, and specifically in relation to novel business models and ‘last-mile’ distribution.

The Fund will invest in the fast expanding financial services sector, which is well placed to benefit from favourable demographic and macro-economic fundamentals as well as structural supply/demand gaps in the growth markets of Africa and South Asia. The Fund’s investment pipeline includes market leaders with innovative, yet proven business models spanning the financial services spectrum (payments, savings and investments, credit, insurance and capital markets). The Fund targets positions in partnership with management teams and entrepreneurs, and will provide active board participation as well as operational support.

“Our inaugural fund has attracted significant interest from a wide range of investors including global institutional investors and DFIs, endorsing our distinct, innovation-led investment strategy”, said Apis Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Matteo Stefanel. “We strongly believe that the next wave of business-model innovation in financial services will come from growth markets. As incomes in these markets continue to rise, so will the demand for formal financial services, representing a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs creating innovative and cost-effective solutions. We aim to back those entrepreneurs”.

“Our focus on advancing inclusion in the formal financial sector in growth markets is both good business and the right thing to do”, said Apis Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Udayan Goyal. “Of the 2.5 billion unbanked adults globally (over half of the world’s adults), 2.2 billion reside in growth markets. Financial inclusion has a direct, measurable impact on GDP growth as well as offering an enormous, untapped market, expanding further thanks to the confluence of demographic and macroeconomic growth factors. We are firmly convinced that Financial Services will deliver in the next decade the same level of return on investment as the telecom boom of Africa and South Asia of the last two decades: we aim to bring that opportunity to our investors.”

“Apis Partners’ focus on a high growth sector in growth markets, their deep expertise in the geographies and their domain knowledge in technology-enabled financial services offers our group with exposure to a unique brand of financial services innovation. We are delighted to be investors in Apis, and we are confident that the fund will invest in innovative and impactful companies in Africa and Asia”, said Gaetano Miccichè, General Manager of Intesa Sanpaolo.

“In Africa and South Asia, improved access to financial services is critical to provide the capital to businesses and individuals that enables job creation and economic development”, said Murray Grant, CDC Managing Director. “As one of the first financial services-focused funds in both Africa and South Asia, Apis will play an important role in meeting the demand for greater financial inclusion. CDC’s investment will support this development and by backing a first-time team, aims to mobilise further capital into the sector.”

The European Investment Bank’s Vice President, Pim van Ballekom, added: “Financial services play a key role in emerging markets and rapidly growing economies. The European Investment Bank is committed to strengthening local financial sector players around the world to improve private sector access to finance and promote financial inclusion. We are pleased to support the new engagement by the Apis Growth Fund that will unlock new business opportunities in Africa and Asia.”

“As part of our continual improvement in serving our customers, Old Mutual is particularly interested in innovation in our core growth markets in Africa and Asia. We are delighted to be investing in the Apis Growth Fund I as a strategic partner and working with a highly experienced investment team, to engage with some of the most innovative companies in the financial services and technology space”, said David Marshall, Group Strategy Director, Old Mutual Emerging Markets.

The Dutch development bank, FMO, commented on their investment: “We are enthusiastic about participating in the launch of Apis, a Fund with a very distinct investment strategy, managed by a team with experience in this segment. We expect the Fund to make attractive investments in its target markets, and we strongly believe that the companies the Fund will support will create substantial impact and increase financial inclusion.”

“Swedfund is excited to support Apis in the fast growing financial services sector in our target markets in Africa and Asia. Our investment underlines not only our commitment to the sector but also our focus on innovative solutions to increased financial inclusion and our wider development mandate”, said John Kristensen, Head of Fund Investments for Swedfund.

About Apis Partners
Apis Partners (www.apis.pe) is a private equity asset manager that supports growth stage financial services businesses in Africa and Asia by providing them catalytic growth equity capital. Apis consists of a tried-and-tested team who has worked together for over 15 years, with specialised expertise in financial services and technology in growth markets garnered in leading firms in private equity and investment banking. From the outset, Apis counts on industry-specialised human capital, resources and an attractive pipeline of opportunities. Apis’ operating network includes on-the-ground presence in 5 countries, a core team of 12 investment professionals and over 20 additional financial services sub-sector experts. As a foreign private adviser, Apis Partners is exempt from registration under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

Apis Partners is highly conscious of the developmental impact that the provision of growth capital for growth markets financial services can achieve, and it has incorporated Financial Inclusion as a core tenet of its investment mandate.

Apis Partners is the manager of Apis Growth Fund I.