Apis Partners Raises $150m to Invest in Untapped Financial Markets

Apis Partners, an-year-old private equity firm that plans to focus on the financial services sector in Africa and South Asia, has raised over $150m for the first close of the fund. Apis Partners is a private equity asset manager focused on financial services in growth markets.

The fundraising by Apis clearly shows the interest of private equity firms for funds to use it for the specific sectors and untapped niches and markets. Apis, which is backed by the UK’s CDC, Old Mutual and Intesa Sanpaolo, will look to invest around $20M to $40M in companies across the payments, insurance and other fast-growing financial sub-sectors in emerging markets.

The company was founded last year by Matteo Stefanel, previously a partner at Abraaj (an emerging-market private equity house) and Udayan Goyal, a Co-founder of Anthemis (a FinTech investor). It is planning to support upcoming players in payments, insurance and other sectors that are expanding quickly.

We felt the real sweet spot for financial services in emerging markets was $20M to $40M, using growth equity rather than buyout capital, Mr. Goyal said in

People now understand you can’t be a jack of all trades. You need to specialize, Mr. Stefanel added.

It’s all very good to have an innovative product, but if it’s not reachable by the consumer financial inclusion will not be met, Mr. Goyal said.

The opportunity is very similar to telcos in emerging markets around a decade ago when mobile phone use—now increasingly widespread—first began to expand exponentially, Mr. Stefanel said.

This is going to be happening now in financial markets. They essentially leapfrogged the concept of land lines. We’re not talking about banks—you want to invest in the pipes, Mr. Stefanel added.