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Therese Turner-Jones, general manager of the Country Department Caribbean Group, Inter-American Development Bank with Learie Hercules, vice-president of data and analytics, Lightspeed Technologies (left); Dr Peter Adriens, director, Center for Infratech Finance, University of Michigan; Delroy McLean, senior director, C&W Business; and Charles E Robinson, global consulting director, Avaya; on stage at Tech Beach Retreat (Photo: TechBeach Retreat)

IDB Lab launches ‘Call for Proposals’ from venture capital funds

Therese Turner-Jones, general manager of the Country Department Caribbean Group, Inter-American Development Bank with Learie Hercules, vice-president of data and analytics, Lightspeed Technologies (left); Dr Peter Adriens, director, Center for Infratech Finance, University of Michigan; Delroy McLean, senior director, C&W Business; and Charles E Robinson, global consulting director, Avaya; on stage at Tech Beach Retreat (Photo: TechBeach Retreat)

The innovation arm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), IDB Lab, on Monday issued a call for proposals to investment management firms that will offer venture capital (VC) equity financing in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“This call will…contribute to expand[ing] the frontiers of VC markets and increase early-stage financing in LAC,” a release from the regional bank stated.

Through its fund investment activities, IDB Lab is aiming “to unleash the potential of innovation to generate greater development impact and social inclusion with a special focus on poor and vulnerable populations across LAC, as well as to bridge key financing gaps in countries, sectors, and business models in which there is an unsatisfied demand for investments from early-stage entrepreneurs”.

To this end, IDB Lab plans to invest in VC funds that are aligned with one of the following four approaches:

  • Nascent and Emerging Ecosystems: Funds that invest primarily in nascent or emerging early-stage ecosystems such as Central America, Caribbean and selected markets in South America, such as Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia.
  • Regionalizing Funds: Funds with regional strategy, which in addition to targeting more developed early-stage ecosystems, include nascent or emerging ecosystems to promote regional integration and knowledge transfer from more mature to emerging VC market within LAC. 
  • Sector Specific Funds: Funds specializing in high-impact sectors with pronounced structural capital gaps resulting from unmet demand by early-stage entrepreneurs, such as Health/Biotech, Edtech/Workertech, Agtech/Foodtech and Climatetech, among others.
  • Diversity Lens Investing Funds: Funds led by a diverse team in terms of ethnicity, race, and gender whose thesis are equally focused on diversity, in accordance with IDB´s Lab goal of anchoring the first LAC VC fund with such an approach.

According to the IDB, “Investment management firms with proven experience and presence in the region, interested in being considered for IDB Lab’s investment, are invited to submit proposals.”