London-based Sturgeon Capital is launching a $35 million fund for emerging startups in Central Asia

We reported last year on the launch of a $225 million VC platform from the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank, that would also cover Central Asia. In addition, Most VC launched its accelerator from Almaty, Kazakhstan. So it’s clear that these regions, which have been considered backwaters for too long, are now finding their feet as a new wave of tech talent comes online, eager to join the tech industry and startup ecosystem. Indeed, they follow a similar path to the wave of tech VC investment that has hit countries like Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil in recent years.

This will benefit Sturgeon Capital, a London-based VC, which plans to invest in early stage startups in the emerging markets of Central Asia and South Asia (excluding India).

Sturgeon’s newest venture capital fund, Sturgeon Emerging Opportunities II (SEO II), will deploy its $35 million fund, building on its previous fund (SEO I), a 2020 vintage fund that has made 18 investments targeting seed to Series A SEO II will continue to invest in fintech, B2B software and marketplace business models.

Kiyan Zandiyeh, Sturgeon’s managing partner, said in a statement: “Sturgeon’s presence in every market enables us to see all deal flow, do effective due diligence and provide real value-added post-investment support.”

Commenting on the new fund, Alex Branton, a partner at Sturgeon, added: “SEO II invests in the rapid digitization of some of the world’s least developed countries following the emerging markets technology playbook, proven in multiple peer markets in the past decade. Sturgeon is a for-profit impact investor with an impact strategy based on three pillars: employment, financial inclusion and gender.”

Since its launch in February 2023, the new fund has invested in Shikho (Bangladesh edtech) and Oasis MFI (Central Asia fintech).

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