Asian Development Bank launches ADB Ventures, investing in impact tech startups

Last January 31, Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched ADB Ventures, a venture capital arm for tech-based startups that contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Its anchor trust fund, ADB Ventures Investment Fund 1, aims to reach $50 million and will accept contributions from multiple sources such as bilateral development partners.

Focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, ADB Ventures will prioritize investment in early-stage startups and those that address climate change and promote women empowerment. Throughout the duration of its 17-year fund life, investments will also be made in fintech, agritech, and healthtech solutions.

The anchor fund will also be augmented by a two-pronged, three-year, $12 million technical assistance program. ADB Ventures SEED, a grant program, will be dedicated to validation of tech pilots and expansion into seemingly risky emerging markets. On the other end, ADB Venture Lab, a suite of corporate innovation programs, will forge partnerships with industry leaders and accelerators for startups.

“This region is brimming with technology solutions to conserve energy, reduce waste, fight climate change, and deliver public services effectively,” said Mike Barrow, ADB’s Director General for Private Sector Operations. “ADB Ventures will help bring these solutions to market by leveraging our extensive operational networks and filling the risk capital gap facing innovative early-stage companies in developing Asia and the Pacific, particularly smaller and frontier markets.”

ADB Ventures Investment Fund 1 is expected to begin operations in the second quarter of 2020.

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