International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has made US$2 million equity investment in Singapore-based VC firm SeedPlus to support early-stage technology entrepreneurship in Asia.

The investment falls under the IFC Startup Catalyst programme (ISC), which supports entrepreneurs and early-stage companies through investments in various seed-stage structures.

IFC’s investment will help SeedPlus to support up to 20 startups, helping fill the early-stage capital funding gap for high-growth companies, it said in a press statement. The programme will also help create hundreds of jobs and through its acceleration cycles, help support local entrepreneurship.

SeedPlus was launched by leading VC firm Jungle Ventures, in collaboration with SGInnovate, Accel Partners (India) and Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates, among others. Supported by Google and PwC Singapore, it is focused on investing in and helping build Asia’s most disruptive startups across SaaS, mobile, financial technology, Artificial Intelligence and cyber security and other emerging technology areas. SeedPlus invests up to US$1 million in each startup in Asia.

“The SeedPlus investment aligns with IFC’s Venture Capital group’s strategy to invest in innovative technology companies across emerging markets. Today, there are several fast-evolving, transformative technologies disrupting key industry sectors, enabling entrepreneurship and innovation to flourish in emerging markets, particularly in Southeast Asia, which we see as a growing market for us this year,” said Pravan Malhotra, IFC’s VC lead for Southeast Asia and Asia Internet investments.

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“Singapore’s role as Southeast Asia’s hub for venture funding and tech talent will only continue to grow, and amid this landscape, IFC can play an increasingly vital role as a seasoned investor and advisor. The platform also aligns with IFC’s approach to build and support local, sustainable ecosystems for entrepreneurship and venture capital in emerging markets. IFC’s funding and direct investments in portfolio companies will boost seed capital availability, mobilise institutional capital and will better position companies for follow-on funding, sustainability, and job creation,” said Rana Karadsheh, IFC’s Country Manager for Singapore.

SeedPlus is focused on investing in companies that target large addressable markets in Asia and have the ability to expand on a global scale. Some recent examples include Homage, an on-demand caregiving platform for the elderly in Singapore; Moglix, an Indian B2B e-commerce platform specialising in the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) industry; and Mimetic.ai, the company behind Evie, an AI scheduling assistant.

SeedPlus is run by three operating partners — Michael Smith Jr, who was CTO at streaming service HOOQ; former Spotify product manager Gabriel Lundberg; and Tiang Lim Foo, who led Evernote’s market development in Asia Pacific.

IFC has previously committed US$10 million to Jungle Ventures’ second fund, along with a US$10 million co-investment vehicle, which will invest in early stage technology companies in emerging markets of Southeast Asia.

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