Must Read Blog November 28, 2023

How Beyond Capital Ventures is Making a Transformative Impact on Emerging Markets

Voices of Impact is a continuing series from Tyton Partners that invites impact companies to shed light on their company’s impact in the space and illuminate the landscape for other education entrepreneurs and investors by answering five basic questions.

Tyton Partners interviewed Eva Yazhari, General Parter at Beyond Capital Ventures

What is your company’s origin story?

Beyond Capital Ventures is a trailblazing, women-led venture fund committed to making a transformative impact in emerging markets. Our focus is on early-stage companies in India and East Africa, in sectors vital for societal well-being – healthcare, climate opportunities, and fintech – all under the visionary leadership of conscious leaders.

Our journey reached new heights with the launch of Beyond Capital Ventures, our second fund, in April 2021. This fund is strategically designed to target Seed to Series-B Bridge funding rounds, sourcing opportunities in East Africa and India, two of the world’s top four emerging markets. We invest in and actively support visionary leaders who drive companies that uplift the lower-to-middle-income consumer classes in these burgeoning markets.

We go beyond just providing capital; we offer ‘beyond capital’ resources shaped by our profound understanding of entrepreneurs’ real needs. Every portfolio company receives tailored support, which can encompass legal or financial advisory assistance, mentorship, leadership training, and a dedicated presence on the Board. To further empower our founders, we connect them with our extensive network through our pro-bono Expert Advisory Council.

Our journey began with the inception of the Beyond Capital Fund in 2009, a pioneering evergreen fund. Its fundamental mission has been to bridge the capital gap for early-stage companies in India and East Africa. This vision took shape after my tenure on Wall Street at a high-performing hedge fund of funds, where I cultivated the desire to leverage my financial expertise for creating an impact in regions close to my heart. (My family roots in Kenya and my grandfather’s hospital in Tanzania are deep-rooted connections.)

The birth of Beyond Capital marked the beginning of an innovative venture fellow program, tapping into my professional network to source promising pipelines. In 2014-2015, we decided to take our impact to the next level. This transformation involved establishing a dedicated Core Team, including a Chief Investment Officer, Director of Due Diligence, and a Director of Social Impact. It also entailed the formalization of our proprietary six-stage diligence process, ensuring that we invest in purpose-driven companies with strong impact potential.

At Beyond Capital Ventures, our journey is not just about investing; it’s about creating lasting change and fostering visionary leaders in emerging markets. We look forward to our continued impact-driven voyage, making a difference where it matters most.

What problem does your company seek to solve? What is your mission?

The core problem Beyond Capital aims to solve is the lack of access to capital and support for mission-driven early-stage businesses in emerging markets, particularly in East Africa and India. From the investor perspective, we believe that returns and impact can and should be pursued simultaneously, and we do that through a rigorous due diligence process that focuses on founders as conscious leaders. Our mission is exemplified in the following ways:
    1. Access to Capital: Beyond Capital Ventures recognizes the challenge that early-stage startups face in securing funding to grow and scale their businesses. The fund addresses this issue by providing financial support to promising startups through investments ranging from pre-Seed to Series A rounds and Bridge rounds. This capital injection helps these companies get off the ground and reach their growth potential.
    2. Supportive Partnership: Beyond Capital Ventures distinguishes itself by actively engaging with the founders it invests in. The fund doesn’t merely provide financial backing but aims to be a proactive partner, offering support and guidance to help these startups succeed. This approach recognizes the importance of mentorship, guidance, technical and financial expertise, and networking to early-stage companies.
    3. Gender and Equity Focus: BCV is a women-led fund with a strong commitment to gender equality and equity. It invests in companies that prioritize serving the lower-to-middle-income consumer class, addressing the economic disparities in these markets with a gender conscious focus through the business model. Additionally, BCV seeks out founders who exhibit conscious leadership, integrity, and a commitment to equity in their business operations.

How do you measure your success?

We first measure our success through the business performance and impact performance of our portfolio. We assess quarterly business and financial performance metrics and assign a bespoke set of impact-focused KPIs for each company to track when they are onboarded. The impact reporting, which is provided in tandem with their financial reporting, gives us a robust picture of overall company performance to track over time. Their growth – getting new investors and earning higher valuations, expanding their footprint and stakeholders – gives us valuable confirmation that our approach is working. At the portfolio level, for instance, our companies have impacted over 6.7 million lives, including 3.4 million women. Through the 50 million products sold in our respective markets and invaluable services provided by our companies, our investments have created over 169K jobs, 86% of which were held by women.

We also measure success in terms of support provided by the Fund. Through our Expert AdvisoryCouncil and our BCV team, we have provided over 1,778 hours of support valued at over $3 million. Additionally, through both direct and indirect efforts, we have mobilized over $10 million for our portfolio companies by way of strategic introductions, special purpose vehicles, and investment-matching programs with our co-investors and partner organizations.

If you are successful in your mission, what impact will it have on the world?

As we seek to rewrite the VC playbook and champion conscious leadership, we recognize that our mission extends beyond financial returns. Beyond Capital Ventures is not just an investor but a catalyst for change. Our vision is to be a driving force in addressing the pressing global challenges of our time, from improving healthcare accessibility to combating climate change and advancing financial inclusion.

We understand that the positive impact of our investments goes well beyond profit margins. Our aim is to leave an indelible mark by transforming emerging markets into hubs of innovation and sustainability. The success of our portfolio companies paves the way for others, setting a new standard for ethical business practices, environmental responsibility, and social equity.

We are not only investors but also partners in a larger movement for a more equitable, sustainable, and interconnected world. By rewriting the VC playbook, we hope to inspire a new generation of investors and entrepreneurs to join us in building a more inclusive future.

What do you wish people knew about addressing the challenges for which Beyond Capital is trying to solve?

It is imperative to understand that Beyond Capital’s approach to venture capital isn’t just about investing in emerging markets or addressing the needs of consumers there; it’s about reimagining the very nature of venture capital itself. Demographics play a pivotal role in shaping our investment thesis. By 2050, approximately one in every four people on the planet will call the African continent home, making it a demographic powerhouse. This demographic reality underpins our unwavering commitment to these markets.

At Beyond Capital, we view the founders we invest in as true partners in our work, recognizing that, particularly in the markets we serve, these visionary leaders are often not given the credit (and capital!) that they deserve. That’s why we instituted an Equitable Venture pool, a revolutionary approach where founders are entitled to share in the profits generated by our Fund. This Equitable Venture structure is not just innovative; it’s a crucial part of our commitment to a holistic, non-extractive model of investing. To this day, we remain one of the few funds in the industry to deploy this approach. The philosophy behind Equitable Venture – the emphasis on conscious leadership, and the mission to make our industry practices less extractive – goes to the heart of everything that we do.

Beyond Capital Ventures is more than a financial partner; we are a catalyst for positive change, and our visionary approach recognizes that the founders we support are instrumental in shaping the future of their markets and beyond. In aligning their success with our own, we’re collectively forging a more equitable and impactful future for all.