Dealflow | March 17, 2023

Dealflow spotlight: Emerging market investors spot opportunities in essential products and services

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, March 17 – Economic uncertainty has kept many investors out of emerging markets. Seasoned impact investors know where to spot steady and growing opportunities.

“These are such essential services that we know businesses will continue to have these needs,” said Amee Parbhoo of Accion Venture Lab, which invested in three companies in Asia introducing financial services to small businesses in manufacturing, logistics and agriculture.

In Uganda, woman-led Inua Capital this week closed $8 million for its first fund to invest in small and growing businesses that are strengthening production and supply chains for essential goods and agriculture.

“We import a substantial amount of our essential goods, and that is a real risk for us as a nation,” said Inua’s Kim Kamarebe. Investing in those value chains “makes very strong financial sense because in tough times, these are the resilient businesses.”

Renew Capital invested in Kenya’s Badili to improve affordable online and mobile access.

Elevar Equity sees similar opportunities in Latin America, where the firm is increasing its investment activity with a new regional fund. (It’s also, for the first time, raising a dedicated fund for India.) Elevar has backed skills training and job placement startup Galena, small business logistics and financial services provider Fairplay, and community-centric grocery provider Favo.

“There is a lot of resilience within lower-income and underserved communities,” Elevar’s Johanna Posada told ImpactAlpha. “People will continue to spend on basic services.”