We back bold founders building the leading technology companies in countries early into their digital transition
We invest in exceptional founders solving the fundamental problems affecting the day to day lives of businesses and consumers in emerging markets. The countries we invest in are following the digital transition playbook that has played out already across Asia and LATAM, a secular trend that we are committed to for the next 20+ years. Our portfolio companies are building the products and services which will have wide ranging developmental impact on the economies and societies in which they operate, capturing substantial market share and delivering significant impact and financial returns for our investors.
We are a for-profit and for-impact investor, and we believe that technology companies can solve the key problems of employment and financial inclusion in our markets. We invest in FinTech’s that are building the solutions to the challenges of data, distribution, and defaults that will enable consumers and businesses to access financial services. We invest in FinTech, B2B software and marketplace startups that are enabling businesses to operate more efficiently, grow their revenues, and create long-term sustainable employment opportunities. Impact and financial returns are complimentary, and we believe will be commensurate to the size of the opportunity.
Our core geographic focus is Bangladesh, Central Asia, Egypt and Pakistan, as well as neighbouring emerging markets. These markets are defined by the early stage of the technology ecosystem and a lack of venture capital to catalyse the development of digital solutions. The opportunity is huge – we estimate that our core markets will represent nearly $300bn in annual digital revenue for more than half a billion people by 2030.
We are sector agnostic, with a bias towards fintech, B2B software, and marketplaces. Sturgeon’s team and network of venture partners and advisors have developed a deep expertise in these verticals, studying the successes and failures across emerging markets and backing the premier founders that share our philosophy.
We invest initial cheques at (post-revenue) Seed up to Series A, and follow-on up to Series B. Our initial ticket size is $500k up to $2m, depending on round size and stage, allowing us to build meaningful stakes at an early stage and double down on the standout performers. We back our founders with more than capital, opening our network of venture partners and advisors to solve the challenges they face and scale their business. We use our network of VCs and LPs to provide the funding security that our portfolio companies need from Series C and onwards as they build the next generation of local, regional, and household names.
We invest in visionary founders who have found their demand curve and shown an exceptional ability to execute. Our job is to underwrite the execution risk as our portfolio companies scale.
Our companies are reshaping their target geographies by solving big problems for huge numbers of people in the developing world.
The integrated fashion operating system connecting brands, retailers, and manufacturers under one unified tech stack
A new age financial services platform for professionals, merchants (Karyana shops) and SME businesses addressing their payments, collections and credit needs.
The leading technology-enabled microfinance institution in Uzbekistan catering to MSMEs
Financially empowering businesses and employees by providing Earned Wage Access, Invoice Factoring and Payroll Solutions for the first time in Pakistan
Billz is an Uzbek start-up that supports small retailers to grow their business efficiently through offline and online channels.
Datacultr is a data-driven debt collections & risk mitigation platform that collateralises a customer’s smartphone to drive loan repayment through behavioural engagement and build a credit history.
Peopleforce is a Ukrainian start-up providing HR Management Software (HRMs) to small and medium businesses (SMEs) across the CIS region.
Finmap is a cash flow management tool that helps small and mid sized businesses to get real-time visibility on what’s going on in their business in terms of money, avoid cash gaps and make right decisions.
Finmedia is a digital service developer operating in Uzbekistan’s mobile telecom sector with content aggregation and payment handling businesses.
Orient Swiss is the holding company for a consumer and SME super app built around the “Zood” brand. This includes Zoodlogistics, a consumer lending and BNPL product, Zoodmall, a B2C ecommerce marketplace, and Zoodlogistics, an e-logistics solution
Payze is building the “Stripe for the former Soviet Union,” a region where it is still difficult for merchants to accept both international payment cards and local alternatives online.
Sturgeon Emerging Opportunities
SEO is for you if you are:
- An early stage company raising at Seed or Series A
- Looking for a long-term partner that shares your passion for building a significant, sustainable business
- Solving a fundamental problem affecting the day to day lives of businesses and consumers in our core markets.
Why partner with sturgeon
We have developed deep domain expertise in FinTech, B2B Software, and Marketplace business models. Our team is on the ground, constantly building market understanding and perspective. Together with our network of venture partners, we are there so you don’t make the mistakes others have before you.
Collaborative at Heart
We collaborate with other investors to build the best cap table for your business. We collaborate across our portfolio to share experiences and knowledge. We collaborate with industry experts to solve your biggest problems. We collaborate with you as a founder to be your trusted sounding board, in good times and bad.
Funding risk is acute in our markets where the depth of capital is limited. De-risk the future of your business through our network of coinvestors that share our approach to company building and support.
New Market Entry
We are present across three regions with half a billion population and one trillion dollars of GDP waiting to be digitalised. We are your partner for entering new markets and extending your runway of growth.
Our portfolio companies create value through:
- solving fundamental problems in large markets
- creating high impact solutions
- localising to find product market fit
- capital efficient business models
- scalable positive unit economics
- becoming a platform
- building and owning distribution
Founders are everything and so must be:
- domain experts and perpetual learners
- unparalleled in execution
- ambitious and honest (high integrity)
- someone we would be proud to work for
- highly energetic and driven
- able to articulate their vision