Global VC Ecosystems Monthly Recap is a newsletter covering relevant stories on venture capital, startups, and technology from select emerging market startup ecosystems. If you’re into learning about the people solving problems and creating the future in developing economies, this newsletter is for you.
Welcome to May! I’m currently in Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve often played the “would you rather” game and once got the question, “would you rather live at the beach or in the mountains?” This city has both, so it’s a win-win.
Be on the lookout for some podcast episodes from South Africa in the coming weeks. In the meantime, let’s jump into some of the most interesting VC and startup news from the past month.
Newsworthy: I thought this was pretty cool. U.S.-based Tofino Capital has announced the first close of a $10M fund focused on startups in emerging and frontier markets.
Why it’s important: No, it’s not one of the large fund announcements we typically see, but it is a validation of the focus of the work I’ve been doing with this newsletter. The fund will focus on markets with large populations but lack VC dollars, such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines. I should probably get in touch…
Techstars, one of the top global accelerator programs, announced plans to expand to Lagos, Nigeria, with a new program in partnership with ARM Labs.
Why it’s important: The ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Programme focuses on early-stage FinTech and PropTech companies based in Africa. Techstars has been active on the continent already, including startups in some of it’s international programs. Creating a dedicated program on the continent will provide more funding and larger networks to startups where early-stage VC has been nascent.
While we’re on the topic of Africa, check out Google’s new product development center in Nairobi to build products and services for the African market and the world.
We can never let too much time pass without talking about China’s continuing big tech crackdown and its repercussions. There are new reports that the Cyberspace Administration of China will begin conducting inspections of internet firms to crack down on the potential abuse of algorithms.
Why it’s important: Initially, China’s policies targeted internet giants such as Alibaba, which caused many tech executives to step down. But regulations on FinTech, gaming, and e-commerce have also affected startups, increasing compliance costs and causing unpredictable censorship.
If you think there aren’t widespread effects from these tech regulations over the last year, take note that China’s venture funding has dropped 46% YoY.
For the most part, global funding has declined in Q1 of this year compared to Q4 2021. Not in Europe, though, where investment was up +21% YoY and +4% from Q4 LY.
Why it’s important: The most interesting thing about this to me as that some of the macro issues in Europe, such as the war in Ukraine, energy issues with Russia, and supply chain constraints, haven’t spilled over into startup funding. One reason why? Global growth investors are looking for new opportunities to invest. And late-stage venture has been growing in the continent from other developed nations over the past year.
SoftBank has decided to change it’s Latam strategy, and announced it is spinning out its early-stage investment arm into Upload Ventures.
Why it’s important: SoftBank has been heavily involved in the region, using its Latam Fund I and II to mint unicorns such as Rappi and Nubank. Last year, the Japanese firm announced new hires and went through a management shift to expand to early-stage investments. According to sources, this spin-off comes from a decision from the bank to stick to investing at the growth-stage because early-stage investing became “distracting.”
The Saudi Venture Capital Company and Flat6Labs are partnering up to launch the “Startup Seed Fund” and Flat6Labs Riyadh Seed Programme. The partnership aims to empower more than 60 Saudi startups over the next three years.
Why it’s important: The fund will raise USD 40M within the next 12 months, with plans to be invest in early-stage startups in KSA. Besides the cash investment, startups will have access to The Flat6Labs Riyadh Seed Programme, a four-month-long accelerator.
See you again next month!