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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.
https://www.impactassets.org/impactassets-50

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2021 PROFILE

SEAF

Total Assets Under Management: $100 – 499M
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes, Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth
Clean Technology, Alternative Energy & Climate Change
Sustainable Agriculture
Small/Medium Business Development

Firm Overview

Category: Private Equity - Growth Stage (Emerging)

For over thirty years, SEAF has been a leader in emerging/frontier market impact investing, providing growth capital and business assistance to more than 400 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in markets largely underserved by traditional sources of capital. Targeting Impact Through Entrepreneurs, SEAF’s mission is to improve lives and communities through entrepreneur-focused investment. SEAF has managed or is managing 41 Funds and 14 Centers for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED) across 33 countries. SEAF has made 434 impact investments and realized over 300 exits while achieving significant impact consistent with its mission. SEAF understands that it is vital to have a local presence for effective deal sourcing and vetting (networks, language, culture, context, etc.), which is why we have built strong offices with local teams. SEAF has an extensive track record of establishing local fund management capacity in emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 10 years or more
Total Assets Under Management:
$100 – 499M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: Less than 25%
Investment Thesis:

SEAF’s investment thesis is Impact Through Entrepreneurs, wherein SEAF provides growth capital and business assistance to SMEs in emerging markets, seeking targeted financial returns and social impact aligned with the SDGs.

Investment Overview:

SEAF's investment thesis is to provide risk capital (equity, quasi-equity, and venture debt) and business assistance to SMEs in emerging and frontier markets with the purpose of achieving targeted financial returns and social impact for each respective fund. Targeted financial returns (deal, portfolio, and net) are a function of investor preferences, deal instruments to be used, market conditions, etc.. Social impact is a function of the theme/sector focus of a given fund and is aligned with the SDGs. Nevertheless, any impact made by a fund contributes to SEAF's mission of improving lives and communities, as well as SEAF's theory of change for that theme or sector.

Company Differentiator:

For thirty years, SEAF has been at the forefront of impact investing, bringing conventional investing practices to underserved emerging and frontier markets and providing entrepreneurs with the growth capital and business capacity building advisement needed to grow their businesses. Over that time, SEAF has grown into the industry leader, with more than twenty offices globally, spanning Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the MENA region, and Latin America; an investment team with significant experience in financial, operational, and impact-focused development; and an operational framework that joins traditional private equity fund management practices with impact-oriented monitoring and evaluation work. It is this unique combination that allows to SEAF to offer its investors and investees with the confidence that their work with SEAF will be aligned with private equity industry standards and will provide the social and environmental focus necessary to generate the impact sought after by today’s socially-minded investor.

Investment Example

SEAF invested in Organica in 2018 as part of its Southeast Asian-focused SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund, which targets growth-oriented, women-led businesses in Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The Company was founded in 2011 by Pham Phuong Thao, a young mother, who, upon recognizing the inadequacies in Vietnam’s conventional food system, sought to provide the public with clean, safe and healthy food. Organica established the country’s first organic farm, avoiding the use of harmful and toxic chemicals and receiving certification from both US and EU regulators. The Company has since expanded to a number of farms and retail outlets. As with all of its investments, SEAF has implemented a rigorous Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policy with Organica to aid in the company’s long-term sustainability. These include sustainable agribusiness practices, gender equality in the workplace, and improved governance. 

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
Agnes Dasewicz – Co-CEO More Info

Agnes Dasewicz was appointed as co-CEO in November 2020, two years after joining the SEAF board. She has more than 25 years of experience in private equity and impact investment. Prior to SEAF, Agnes served in the inaugural Fellowship cohort at the Rockefeller Foundation where she worked to scale up investment into underserved communities in the U.S. Before the Rockefeller Foundation, Agnes was as Director at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where she was behind some of the most significant accomplishments in development finance recently, including the launch of Power Africa and the establishment of the Office of Private Capital at USAID. As part of this work, she secured over $20 billion of investment commitments from U.S. and African financiers towards energy investment on the continent and initiated and led the first partnership of the Agency with institutional investors to increase investment in infrastructure.

Bert van der Vaart – CEO More Info

Bert van der Vaart is the Co-founder and CEO of SEAF, leading SEAF’s global operations, including fund launch efforts, and also serves as a member of SEAF’s Global Investment Committee. Bert co-founded SEAF in 1989, when it was known as the CARE Small Business Assistance Corporation (CARESBAC). In 1992, he negotiated the establishment of CARESBAC/SEAF’s first fund in Poland, which grew to $16.8 million total capital under management under his leadership as the fund’s Director General. While serving as Director-General of CARESBAC-Polska from 1994 until 1997, the company completed 27 SME investments and realized its first 6 exits. In 1997, Bert was appointed CEO and President of SEAF, where he has since been involved with the establishment and supervision of every SEAF fund. In 2008, he became Executive Chairman of SEAF’s Board of Directors and became associated with Discovery Global Citizens Fund, an international investment firm.

David Mathewson – Senior Managing Director More Info

David Mathewson joined SEAF as President in 2016. David chairs SEAF’s Global Investment Committee and senior management team and supports the CEO in overseeing the strategic development and operations of SEAF. Prior to joining SEAF, David partnered with Delphos International to pursue opportunistic investments in emerging market private equity transactions and impact investment funds. From 2010 to 2015, David served as Senior Managing Director of Darby Private Equity/Franklin Templeton, with chief operating officer responsibilities for the financial, administration, ESG and business development aspects of Darby’s global private equity operations. From 2000 to 2009, he was Managing Director at Soros Fund Management LLC and an affiliate where he served as a founding member of the management team and Investment Committees of Southeast Europe Equity Fund I and II, two private equity growth capital funds for Southeast Europe and Turkey with combined capital of $520 million.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as a person of color:*
50% or more
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as a person of color:*
Less than 25%
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Market Rates
Actual Performance Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors
Quarterly

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
100%
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Creating jobs
Addressing Gender Inequality
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Increasing access to education and improving educational outcomes
Increasing access to financial services
Increasing access to healthcare services and improving health
Increasing access to water and sanitation
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Business and legal training
Technology training

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:

SEAF investments set intentional impact targets at the onset of each investment and track such metrics throughout the life of the hold period. In addition to core metrics of job creation, sustainable business growth and local tax revenue contributions, each investment sets 3-5 targets that indicate the impact intentionality unique to that business, aligning each with IRIS metrics. Each investment also identies the SDGs which are targeted for impact.

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:

Each SEAF investment undergoes a SEAF Social and Environmental Due Diligence screen to ensure that all companies:

  1. are aware of and aligned with SEAF's commitment to ESG practices;
  2. identify areas wherein ESG-related improvements are needed; and
  3. systematically tracked and advised on how to increase social and environmental sustainability.

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to investors and donors
Third Party Validations:
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Robert Vodicka
Phone: 202-567-2499
Mailing Address:

1500 K St NW, Washington D.C. 20005 USA

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