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Insitor Partners closes USD 42m for first 2X Pioneer Flagship Fund in Asia

Insitor Partners has completed a USD 42m first close of its Insitor Impact Asia Fund II (IIAF II), with a target to reach USD 70m by end 2022. The funding round includes the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) as well as two core investors from Insitor’s previous fund: the UK government’s British International Investment (formally CDC Group) and Insitor’s founding family offices. At the same time, Insitor announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CDC Capital Group recognising their IIAF II fund as the first 2X Pioneer Flagship Fund in Asia, helping to empower women in emerging economies.

Pictured: Dr Roopa Manjunath, Oculoplasty Specialist, iDristhi - a woman founded and led eye care company in India which has been able to treat over 209,453 patients since IIAF investment from Insitor. With respect to eye care, women are more likely to have higher rates of blindness and are less likely to access appropriate eye services.

Launched in 2009, Insitor was the first impact fund manager with local presence in Cambodia and Myanmar, and an early player into India and Pakistan. Insitor has so far made 27 investments across the region, creating 14,000 jobs, and transforming the lives of more than 40 million low-income consumers served by its portfolio companies.

With a team of on-ground experts, deep local knowledge, and strong networks, Insitor invests in companies building life-changing solutions, including through simplified product design and improved business processes, and made more accessible through efficient distribution models. Focused on frontier economies, their goal is to back pioneering entrepreneurs building life-changing solutions that address multidimensional poverty in developing Asia.

Building on its momentum, Insitor plans to make 12 – 15 investments in high growth and scalable ventures across its core investment themes - Better Health, Sustainable Living, and Economic Growth. The fund will invest at the Pre-Series A to Series A stage, and provide follow-on funding as portfolio companies scale, the new fund is also expected to collaborate with Limited Partners to co-invest in larger deals.

Insitor has completed three investments to date after the first closing: Karachi-based Trellis, a housing finance provider that uses a fully-digital origination platform to accelerate deployment of housing finance; MedKart, a low-cost, high-high quality generic drug B2C distributor in India, which allows patients with chronic illness to save an average of 85% on their drug treatments; and Taleem, the first financial institution that serves the education system in Pakistan, providing affordable funding options to schools, teachers and households. The company aims to grow its active customer base by 25x using Insitor’s funding.

“With this new fund, we will continue to back pioneering founders who are building new markets and industries. We work closely with founding teams to scale their businesses, which enables us to create a multiplier effect on our initial investment,” says Micaela Ratini, Insitor’s CEO. “We aspire to set a positive example of how private capital can promote sustainable development and social impact across the region.”

“Women are key to production and consumption in the economy, and gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial to creating just and equitable societies,” says Nicholas Lazos, Insitor’s Chief Investment Officer. “Across Cambodia, India and Pakistan, women continue to be an under-utilized resource in unlocking higher rates of economic development. Advancing gender equality not only works towards inclusive economic growth, but also makes business sense: there is significant evidence showing that involving women in supply chains leads to higher productivity, returns on investment and increased consumer satisfaction.”

With the 2X Flagship Fund status, Insitor is committed to investing with an explicit gender lens to ensure at least 30% of its portfolio meets the 2X criteria. Insitor further commits to ​promoting and maintaining gender balance as a fund manager. Insitor is female founded and led, with 50% female employees in both senior management roles and across the overall employee base.

2X Flagship Funds are an initiative under the 2X Collaborative, the global industry body for gender lens investing that was created after the launch of the 2X Challenge at the G7 in 2021. Its objective is to mobilize US $15 billion to support projects that empower women to enjoy their share of the world’s opportunities.

Sara Taylor, Director and Head of SME Funds, CDC Group, says, “As a founding member of the 2X Collaborative, CDC believes that broadening the representation and participation of women and diverse groups across the corporate value chain is a critical pathway to economic development. We are pleased to qualify IIAF II as a 2X Flagship Fund and welcome the Fund’s commitment to provide capital to women business owners who are leading companies with intentionally inclusive business models.”

CDC, which will be renamed British International Investment (BII) in April, has invested into and supported Insitor Partners’ funds since 2015, when Insitor’s second fund (IIAF I) was launched.

Insitor is targeting the end of 2022 to complete the second close of the USD 70m IIAF II fund. “We look forward to building new partnerships as we continue to transform the impact investing landscape in Asia and catalyze the collective impact of private investment capital in the region”, says Rukmini Bahl, Insitor’s Director of Strategic Partnerships.

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