The early stage of local venture capital ecosystems is often the most crucial for building and sustaining healthy entrepreneurship and innovation. It is here that entrepreneurs establish, nurture, and attempt to scale high-growth companies – i.e. startups that develop innovate solutions to known issues, often resulting in the creation of quality jobs, and impact beyond geographical boundaries. IFC aims to support these entrepreneurs and their ecosystems by helping bridge issues of insufficient seed capital, and often, business know-how.
IFC’s Startup Catalyst is a facility through which equity (and quasi-equity) investments will be made in a number of commercially-oriented Incubators, Accelerators, Seed Funds, and similar vehicles and structures, across emerging markets. The main objectives of the Startup Catalyst program are to support:
- accelerated launch, through seed capital and guidance, of innovative local businesses by local entrepreneurs;
- access to global investors for companies in underserved markets;
- development of local venture capital ecosystems that will result in sustained entrepreneurship, improved products and services, and increased support of technology as a tool to benefit local markets; and
- creation of highly skilled, technology-enabled jobs
Investment amounts will range on average between US$1-2 million into target investees with demonstrable track records, reputable managers, and sustainable structures. Best practices and lessons learned will be shared across the portfolio of Startup Catalyst investees, and beyond.