US government agency OPIC launches venture capital fund; targets woman entrepreneur-led startups

Self-sustaining U.S. government agency, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has launched a venture capital initiative designed to build on the agency’s existing financial tools by supporting venture capital funds that invest in proven and emerging technologies that address critical challenges facing the developing world.

Iron Pillar, a Mumbai-based venture growth investor specializing in technology businesses in India, is the first fund commitment under this new initiative by OPIC. Iron Pillar provides growth capital to proven businesses in the enterprise and consumer technology sectors.

It is known that the fund has begun developing a portfolio of investments in technology businesses that demonstrate the potential for making a positive impact on the Indian economy.

Sameer Nath, the Managing Partner of Iron Pillar, is excited to be the first fund selected for OPIC’s new global venture capital program.

According to OPIC, the launch of this venture capital program advances its ongoing efforts to help entrepreneurs and early-stage companies achieve scale and attract institutional capital to grow their business.

OPIC will typically commit between $5 million and $25 million, or up to 25 percent of a fund’s total capitalization. Funds applying for OPIC support will be selected on a quarterly basis through an open and competitive process and eligible funds must comply with OPIC’s standards on human rights, labor rights, and U.S. effects.

“Venture capital is an effective tool for identifying entrepreneurs that show promise for impact and growth,” said David Bohigian, OPIC Executive Vice President. “OPIC has seen many small businesses have a big impact in emerging markets and by supporting venture capital funds focused on these markets, we’ll be able to reach more of these promising young businesses.”

OPIC has expertise in helping American businesses gain footholds in new markets, catalyzes new revenues and contributes to jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. The company fulfills its mission by providing businesses with financing, political risk insurance, advocacy and by partnering with private equity fund managers.

OPIC believes that the launch of this venture capital program comes at a time when venture capital investment in emerging markets is growing. According to Preqin, venture capital investment in emerging markets has risen from $800 million invested across 127 deals in 2009, to $13 billion invested across 1,168 deals in 2017.

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