Private equity firm Apis Partners, which focuses on financial services in Africa and South Asia, held a first close of its debut Apis Growth Fund I at $157 million, according to a statement.
The firm's managing partner Matteo Stefanel told Private Equity International that the fund beat its first close target of $125 million.
Fund I is targeting $250 million and has not yet deployed any capital, but over the next couple of months has “a number of investments we're ready to make,” Stefanel said.
The fund received commitments from global institutional investors and leading development finance institutions in Europe, North America and Africa, including CDC, European Investment Bank, FMO in the Netherlands and Sweden's Swedfund, the statement said.
The size of commitments varied, and in addition to these cornerstone investors, the fund also drew commitments from high net worth individuals, Apis managing partner Udayan Goyal said.
“Typically it takes five years to deploy the money [raised in the fund] but our expectation is to deploy a bit faster than that,” Stefanel said, noting that the proprietary relationships the Apis team has cultivated over the past decade put them in a “generally well-connected” position.
Goyal said the fund will look to establish one-off partnerships with entrepreneurs and companies in the financial services sector in emerging and growth markets, where innovation and new business models can be done.
“We want to contribute not just equity but skills, connectivity,” he said. “Minority versus majority stakes is not very important” compared with building entrepreneurship models and partnerships with companies.
London-based Apis' team has worked together for more than 15 years and has an operating network in five countries, according to the statement.