Berlin-based Earlybird Venture Capital announced the initial closing of its new early stage fund – The Digital East Fund (EDEF)- at over $110 million with a target up to $130 million. Company says the fund will focus on the underserved and attractive Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) markets.
Total capital commitments contribute to total funds of over $900 million raised by Earlybird since its founding in 1997, and it will be used for investments in disruptive consumer internet, mobile and enterprise technology companies originating from Turkey and CEE, official press release discloses.
Participants of Earlybird’s Digital East Fund include large institutional investors like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Fund, the International Finance Corporation and Turkey’s Istanbul Venture Capital Initiative (iVCi) as well as family offices and entrepreneurs around the globe.
Announcement continues: “The new Earlybird fund will concentrate on early stage and early growth investments in an underfunded and attractive geography. The region provides an environment of exceptional economic expansion, young and growing populations enthusiastically embracing new technologies and continuously increasing income per capita. The new fund will focus on opportunities featuring exceptional founders building businesses that serve large, rapidly growing and preferably global or regional markets with capital-efficient business models, demonstrating sustainable competitive advantage. Incorporated in Luxembourg, the fund aims to deliver attractive financial returns that exceed emerging market benchmarks at a European level of operational risk.”
The team that will work for the fund combines Earlybird’s VC managers Cem Sertoglu and Evren Ucok, two of Turkey ́s most active and most recognized technology investors, as well as Dan Lupu who had covered large areas of CEE for Intel Capital. The team has previously invested in companies like Peak Games (global top 5 mobile and social gaming company), Trendyol.com (fashion ecommerce powerhouse based in Turkey), Wikimart (large B-to-C e-commerce platform) and GittiGidiyor (sold to eBay in 2012 for USD 220M).
Together with the closure of EDEF, Silicon Valley’s serial entrepreneur Ali Kutay has joined the team as a Venture Advisor.