Patamar Capital launches $50m credit fund for women entrepreneurs in SEA

Impact investing firm Patamar Capital has launched a $50 million Beacon Fund for female entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia’s emerging markets.

A credit fund, Beacon has raised approximately 25 per cent of its initial target, according to a statement. The fund has attracted a high net worth woman as its anchor investor, and received support from Investing in Women, an initiative by the Australian Government, and USAID INVEST.

Vulpes Investment Management is Beacon’s Singapore fund management partner.

Beacon said it will use an evergreen structure to better align with its long-term commitment to support woman entrepreneurs.

Initially focusing on debt products, Beacon will provide investments in the range of $500,000 to $2 million.

Beacon said its debt funding structure would be a better fit for moderate-growth, cash-flow positive businesses.

“There is a vast underserved segment of businesses whose growth profile does not match with the expectations of VC/PE, but are creating considerable value for their customers and stakeholders,” said Shuyin Tang, co-founder and CEO at Beacon. She also spearheads Patamar Capital’s gender lens investing efforts.

“Many of these businesses [SMEs] have grown organically and demonstrated solid cash-flows over time. We saw this was a common growth trajectory for female entrepreneurs in particular. The Beacon Fund is focused on meeting the financing needs of these types of businesses, and beyond that, creating a community celebrating alternative models of entrepreneurial and investing success,” she added.

Tang told DealStreetAsia that the types of businesses Beacon focused on have been typically overlooked by venture capital and private equity investors, which often look for “exponential growth companies and the returns of the fund depend on these home-runs”.

The sectors which have a high concentration of businesses fitting Beacon’s target profile include agri-businesses, education and healthcare businesses and services businesses such as marketing, design and HR.

Geographically, the fund focuses on Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Beacon expects to make its first investments before the end of this year, according to the statement.

Since 2017, Patamar Capital has partnered with Investing in Women to manage a gender lens investing fund for Southeast Asia. The programme has invested in 14 women-owned companies over the past three years.

Asia Digest: Patamar Capital leads Kim An funding; Descartes plans Asia expansion

Vietnamese fintech startup Kim An Investment Consulting JSC has raised a Series A investment led by Patamar Capital, while insurtech company Descartes Underwriting is planning an Asia expansion after an $18.5 million Series A round.

Patamar Capital leads funding in Vietnam’s Kim An

Vietnamese fintech startup Kim An Investment Consulting JSC has raised a Series A investment led by impact investing firm Patamar Capital, according to an announcement on September 11.

Indonesian VC firm East Ventures and Vietnam-based Viet Capital Ventures also participated in the round. The value of the investment was not disclosed.

Kim An connects institutional lenders and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through its online platform and more than 80 branches across Vietnam. The segment the company is targeting is a lucrative one with over 5 million MSMEs. Kim An has facilitated more than 25,000 loans to customers through its platform, according to the announcement.

The startup said it will use the fresh capital to develop its core technology system to process data and optimise its credit scoring service.

“There is widespread interest in providing financial services to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), the backbone of the Vietnamese economy. However…very few have cracked the code in terms of how to serve this segment effectively,” said Shuyin Tang, partner at Patamar Capital.

Kim An has also sealed partnerships with Vietnamese financial institutions including Nam A Commercial Bank and FE Credit — the consumer finance arm of Vietnam Prosperity Bank — to offer more consumer loan products for individual customers, household businesses, and micro-enterprises.

Descartes plans Asia expansion after $18.5m Series A

Paris-based Insurtech company Descartes Underwriting has raised $18.5 million in a Series A funding round from global venture capital firms Serena, Cathay Innovation, and BlackFin Capital Partners. The company said that it will use the fresh funds to support expansion in Asia and the US.

Descartes’s current operations cover a wide variety of geographies including Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America. It has plans to open new offices in New York and Singapore.

Founded in 2018, Descartes Underwriting is disrupting the insurance industry by scaling up parametric insurance, leveraging new technologies and data science. Descartes will also use the funds to grow its product range, target larger deals, and deepen its tech capabilities and data science team.

The fresh funding follows a $2.5 million seed fund that the company raised 18 months ago from BlackFin Capital Partners.

“Non-life insurance is going through an existential crisis due to the growing impact of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic: in addition to large losses, the sector is suffering from a lack of trust,” said Tanguy Touffut, CEO and co-founder of Descartes Underwriting.

“With the support of our partners, we aim at rebuilding customer trust through products that are tech-driven, fully transparent, and providing swift claims payment,” he added.