UOB VM raises $60m for impact PE fund

Credit Suisse will continue to be the impact adviser of the new fund.

UOB Venture Management (UOB VM), the private equity arm of UOB, in collaboration with Credit Suisse, has raised at least $60m at the first close of its second impact fund, the Asia Impact Investment Fund (AIIF) II, according to a statement from UOB VM.

The AIIF II’s first round of fundraising received capital commitments from institutional and accredited investors, including UOB, global family offices and high net worth individuals. The final closing of the fund is expected to be completed next year, with a target of $100m to be raised in total, the firm said.

The fund is committed to improving the well-being and livelihoods of low-income communities, also known as the “base of the economic pyramid”, in Southeast Asia and China, through its investments.

Like the first AIIF, AIIF II will make equity investments of around $1m-$15m to small- and medium-sized private companies in sectors such as agriculture, education, healthcare and logistics or those that focus on improving the accessibility of affordable housing, sanitation, clean water and energy.

An example is the AIIF I’s investment into an Indonesian agritech company, TaniHub Group, earlier this year. The company connects local farmers to customers on TaniHub Group’s proprietary digital platform to overcome challenges such as lack of market access, food security and farming techniques, according to the statement.

Credit Suisse, which was the impact advisor for UOB VM’s first AIIF that was launched in 2015, will continue to be the impact advisor of the new fund. As impact adviser, the firm provides objective assessments of the impact created or added by the fund’s investee companies and through the fund’s investments, according to the statement.

“The success of the AIIF I and the momentum of the AIIF II to-date reflects investors’ growing emphasis on sustainability,” Seah Kian Wee, CEO of UOB VM, said in the statement.

AIIF I raised $55m in 2016, and to-date, around 15 million low-income individuals have benefitted from the efforts of the fund’s investee companies.

“Many of our existing AIIF I investors have re-committed to this new fund, reflecting strong interest to invest in proven solutions that can address the social challenges in Asia, while achieving quality financial returns,” Joost Bilkes, head of sustainability strategy, advisory and finance for Asia-Pacific at Credit Suisse, said.

“We are also observing a broadening of our investor base for such solutions, which now includes ultra-high net worth individuals, corporates, family offices and many next generation clients,” he added.