Quona Capital closed on an oversubscribed $332 million fund, drawing in investors with its deep expertise in emerging markets and its efforts to serve the unbanked.
This latest fund was Quona’s third, and it far exceeded the firm’s initial target of $250 million. Quona started to raise the fund a year ago, taking an extra quarter to close the deal. Its last Fund 2 was announced in 2020 at $203 million.
We spoke with Monica Brand Engel, a co-founder and general partner at the firm, who confirmed that 75% of Quona’s existing LP base backed the new fund alongside new investors. Engel credited Quona’s success to both fund performance and the firm’s thesis to “radically improve access and quality of financial services to the unbanked.”
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The firm operates in emerging markets across Latin America, India, Southeast Asia, Africa and MENA. Brazil and India are anchor countries with Mexico, Indonesia and South Africa secondary markets. These five countries represent three-quarters of Quona’s investment capital with people on the ground.
“These countries have been really overlooked and ignored and underinvested in for many, many decades,” Engel said.
‘A thriving ecosystem’
Quona is always looking at newer market opportunities and seeks out markets with three crucial factors: an enabling regulatory environment; emerging low- and middle-income class; and mobile penetration and internet access to serve these markets.
The firm has been in the top quartile performance for venture funds since its inception, a fact that demonstrates “impact and profits don’t necessarily need to be mutually exclusive,” Engel said.
Quona invests an initial check size of $1 million to $5 million at Series A. As the firm has gained experience and conviction, it has started investing earlier at seed. It reserves funds for follow-on investments to support portfolio companies. The firm has an additional five partners with a total of 14 investment professionals.
“Everyone at Quona is trying to build something bigger than themselves, and this notion that our legacy really is to leave a thriving ecosystem,” said Engel.
Quona’s portfolio companies have raised $4 billion in capital in total. Investments include: Brazil-based Creditas, which allows consumers to get loans against property; digital banking platforms Klar from Mexico and Alami from Jakarta; and South Africa-based mobile point-of-sale company Yoco. All of these companies target underserved markets.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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