June 10, 2008, Garza Garcia, Nuevo Léon, México – IGNIA Fund I, Latin America’s first social venture fund dedicated to investing in commercial enterprises serving the base of the pyramid, announced today the first close of US $20.6 million of capital commitments. The fund seeks to identify, develop and scale-up for-profit, high growth entrepreneurial businesses in sectors with the highest potential to positively impact the lives of low-income people. Industries of focus include health care, education, housing, nutrition and basic utilities (such as water, energy, and sewage). The Fund will invest between US $2 million to $10 million over the life of a portfolio company while making initial investments as small as US $500,000.
This close is the first of several with a target of US $50 to $75 million for the fund. The second close is expected during the summer.
The first close was anchored by Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, with a US $10 million commitment. Other investors included institutions from the United States and Switzerland and private individuals from the United States and Latin America.
“This is a unique group of investors because of their commitment to pioneer solutions to poverty through high growth, profitable and scalable businesses that simultaneously generate wealth for the poor and provide attractive returns to its investors,” said Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui, IGNIA co-founder and Managing Partner. “We are thrilled that this will also mean actively collaborating with Omidyar Network, leaders in investing for social impact around the World, and we are delighted that they have deemed this initiative important to their mission. We deeply appreciate the confidence that they and the rest of our investors have conferred on the IGNIA team.”
“The IGNIA Fund hits an Omidyar Network sweet spot: creating economic opportunity by leveraging the energy and creativity of entrepreneurial ventures,” said Jim Bunch, Director of Investments at Omidyar Network. “We expect IGNIA to provide a compelling demonstration effect of the power of entrepreneurship, and we are pleased to join the fund at the start of what we expect to be an exciting and productive journey.”
“Our partners and we are committed to create the vanguard of new industries that will deliver to the poor the key goods and services that will enable them to realize their full human potential,” said Michael Chu, IGNIA co-founder and Managing Director. “As the IGNIA team has been on the ground for eleven months, immediately following this closing we will be making our first investments. We see tremendous opportunities at the base of the pyramid.”
IGNIA Fund I, LP is a social venture capital fund with operations located in Monterrey, Mexico. By providing effective responses to the enormously underserved needs of the low income population, both as consumers as well as active participants in productive value chains, IGNIA empowers entrepreneurship and generates social impact while creating attractive financial returns for its investors. More information is available at: www.ignia.com.mx.