Unitus Equity Fund Closes Largest Private Global Equity Fund Targeting Microfinance
Sunday, April 1, 2007
The Unitus Equity Fund L.P. (UEF), an equity fund investing in microfinance institutions in Asia and Latin America, today announced that the Fund closed with $23.4 million in committed capital. This makes UEF the largest global equity fund in the microfinance industry to be fully funded with private capital. UEF is an affiliated organization of Unitus, Inc. (www.unitus.com), a social enterprise which dramatically accelerates the growth of microfinance institutions and helps them provide more of the world’s working poor with access to life-changing financial services.
Launched in the spring of 2006, the Unitus Equity Fund is the first 100 percent privately-funded equity fund active in the microfinance industry. The UEF was established to encourage the development of a commercial equity market to serve the rapidly growing microfinance industry. With new capital markets in place, microfinance institutions will have increased access to the funds they need to offer more and better services to their clients. The Fund seeks to earn its investors a return commensurate with risk while simultaneously providing social returns by investing in organizations working to alleviate poverty.
While most microfinance equity funds focus on top-tier, regulated microfinance institutions in Eastern Europe and Latin America, the Unitus Equity Fund targets a broad geographic range, with investments in India, Asia and Latin America. Adopting a venture capital approach, the UEF seeks to invest in younger, growth-oriented microfinance institutions run by visionary, entrepreneurial leaders. Working with a diverse portfolio of microfinance institutions, the UEF encourages pro-growth strategies; the development of new financial services, such as savings and insurance; and the creation of profitable exit strategies–such as an IPO–to attract still more capital to the market.