C4D ASIA FUND
C4D Partners has currently one fund under management: the Capital 4 Development Asia Fund. The C4D Asia Fund is a 50m USD fund that invests in SMEs in India, the Philippines and Indonesia. Scroll down to learn more about our investment strategy.
OUR INVESTMENT STRATEGY
The Asian continent has achieved remarkable economic progress in the past five decades and has achieved strong macro-economic progress, that is promising for further growth. The Capital 4 Development Asia Fund’s three main focus countries India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are no exception to these trends. In recent decades, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty in Asia.
However, the impressive growth in Asia has not always translated into inclusive development patterns across and within the countries. Despite all the progress, Asian countries are still coping with a wide range of challenges, whether these are social, environmental or economic in nature. We are convinced that SMEs can play an important role in developing these countries in an inclusive manner. SMEs however still struggle to grow, one of the important reasons being the lack of access to and availability of affordable finance.
The investment strategy of the Capital 4 Development Asia Fund is geared to bridge the finance gap. We see the combination of economic growth and the solutions SMEs have to offer, as an opportunity to contribute to inclusive economies and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
India has emerged as one of the most attractive destinations, not only for investment but also for doing business in the recent years. It’s one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and is expected to grow at consistently high rates during the next few decades.
While poverty is on the retreat, a large part of the population in India continues to be underserved, and long-term challenges remain significant: discrimination against women and girls, exclusion of people from lower casts, an inefficient power generation and distribution system (300 million people lack access to electricity), ineffective enforcement of intellectual property rights, inadequate transport and agricultural infrastructure, insufficient access to financial services (120 million rural households are unbanked), limited non-agricultural employment opportunities, high government spending and poorly targeted subsidies, and inadequate availability of quality basic and higher education (500 million people lack secondary education or skills training). The organized/formal sector that can provide jobs to these youths can never absorb all of them. Therefore, there is a need to create enterprises that can be job creators, mainly in rural India and at the same time offer services to people that now lack access to basic services like for example healthcare, skills training, electricity and alike.
Indonesia is the largest economy in South East Asia and its economy has charted an impressive growth trajectory since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. The main drivers of growth include a rising urbanization, a large base of domestic consumers and a young work force.
Indonesia’s economic growth has not been equitable. Only 20% of the 260 million Indonesians have benefited from the increase in economic wealth during the last decade, while 80% (more than 200 million people) have not. This results in income inequality, limited access to education, health and sanitation issues, inadequate productivity of low-income workers, high informal sector employment, and environmental challenges. Financial access to formal financial institutions is limited. Also, the country is characterized by gender inequalities. In comparison to many of its peers, Indonesian inflation has been both volatile and high over the past decade.
The Philippines is a dynamic country in Southeast Asia. The country’s economic gains have been broad-based and inclusive: the poverty rate declined from 10.5% in 2012 to 6.6% in 2015 for example. The poorest of Filipinos have also seen their incomes grow more rapidly than the national average. Stable inflation and currency, rising domestic consumption and the government’s continuing commitment to infrastructure development are expected to underpin economic growth and enable the Philippines to remain a top performer in the region.
Despite considerable progress in poverty reduction over the last two decades, the country is characterized by high income inequality and a high unemployment rate. In addition, child labour is still prevalent and there are high rates of malnourishment and undernourishment. Also, corruption levels remain high. The country’s development priorities to the SDGs consists of 5 pillars: (i) enhancing the social fabric, (ii) inequality-reducing transformation, (iii) increasing growth potential, (iv) enabling and supportive economic development and (v) foundations for sustainable development.
We structure each investment in the most optimal way, benefitting the business and the investors in the Fund. The following investment guidelines are applicable:
In India we invest with equity instruments. We typically invest in pre-series A and series A with an initial ticket size of USD 200K up to USD 1m and reserve additional capital to participate un subsequent investment rounds. We are an active investor and we support our investees by participating in the Board and opening up our network and potential other resources to support the company in its growth.
INDONESIA AND PHILIPPINES
In Indonesia and the Philippines we invest through mezzanine (equity) and mezzanine (debt) instruments. As the ecosystem for impact investing is still in its early stages, we seek for other financing instrument than conventional equity which require a clear exit strategy. Many founding teams are building businesses to grow and manage beyond the typical period for equity funds to hold their investments. Therefore, we structure equity-alike debt instruments which will liquidate over time and are structured around the cash flow projections of the companies. Examples of these instruments are: convertible debt, debt with revenue share or debt with other forms of ‘kickers’. Investment ranges from USD 200k to USD 2m with an average tenor of 5 years on average. Structuring these instruments require that companies can provide robust cash flow projections.
The dynamics and opportunities of the target country will drive the focus on specific sectors. Though the Fund is sector agnostic, the Fund invests typically in SMEs in the following sectors because of the impact potential:
Together with our portfolio companies and investors we work towards:
Creating decent and sustainable jobs, providing employees with (new) skills and stable incomes, so that they can improve their living conditions and opportunities.
Improving the market position of small, underserved suppliers and entrepreneurs, so that they can grow their business and positively impact (local) economies.
Offering affordable and quality products and services to low-income and vulnerable populations, by providing them access to better, innovative, more efficient, more sustainable solutions, which have the potential to improve their living conditions.
Boosting the development of efficient and sustainable supply chains, by supporting supply chain integration as well as solutions to market inefficiencies, which has the potential to improve linkages, lower costs, improve sustainability outcomes, strengthen the position of vulnerable players and increase outreach.
Supporting gender equality, by encouraging gender balanced business strategies, including women in supply chains and staffing and by investing at least 30% of the committed capital in women SMEs.
INVESTEE SUPPORT PROGRAM
We know how SMEs are challenged to upscale their growing and inclusive businesses, and reach financial sustainability, which limits their positive social-economic impact at the same time. C4D Partners addresses these stumbling blocks, by offering Business Development Support (BDS) to help SMEs to scale up, improve their performance rates, increase their positive social-economic impact, and decrease investment risks at the same time.
Through our Portfolio Support Program, investees will receive focused support, such as coaching, small financial contributions for specific (technical) assistance, access to additional local and international networks, knowledge and expertise and links to strategic partners. To provide these services we seek partnerships with international as well as local organisations, advisory agencies, business training centres, network hubs, etc. The support is paid for from a separate Facility, the C4D Investee Support Foundation.
Each year, we bring our portfolio companies together for training, peer-to-peer networking and to discuss specific support needs.