ADB creates $50m venture fund for start-ups driving sustainability
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved the creation of a new venture platform to support start-ups which are helping Asia and the Pacific reach their sustainable development goals (SDGs).
“This region is brimming with technology solutions to conserve energy, reduce waste, fight climate change, and deliver public services effectively,” says ADB’s director general for private sector operations Mike Barrow, who believes the fund – called ADB Ventures – will “help bring these solutions to market”.
Using what the bank calls its “extensive operational networks”, start-ups will be given a head start with access to its customer base. ADB Ventures’ Investment Fund 1, with a target size of $50 million and expected to launch in the second quarter of 2020, will also fill the risk capital gap – a gap which early-stage companies often find hard to bridge without backing.
With a predominant focus on climate change, the bank says the fund will focus on start-ups with solutions which “empower women” too.
“The fund has a 17-year fund life, allowing ADB to invest patient capital into clean-tech, fintech, agricultural technology, and health technology solutions,” the bank says in a statement, adding that it is “committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty”.
Barrow describes the fund’s vision: “To become the region’s largest impact technology platform, crowding in more than $1 billion of risk capital to achieve the SDGs by 2030″.
The fund is also made bigger by a three-year, $12 million technical assistance programme. This is split into two initiatives: ADB Ventures Seed, which is designed “to validate and de-risk technology pilots and promote expansion into emerging markets”, and ADB Venture Lab, which is a series of corporate innovation programmes that partner with industry players and start-up accelerators.
Partners which helped fund ADB Ventures include the Nordic Development Fund, Climate Investment Funds, and the Government of Australia.