Commercial and social return opportunities via direct investment and partnership.
A new initiative to drive Vitas growth
Generational change is underway in Vitas Group’s countries and promising prospective Vitas markets in MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. New, digital-native platforms are rising to meet the financing and service delivery needs of consumers and entrepreneurs. Just as Vitas Group’s ongoing digital transformation is streamlining internal operations and opening the door to low-touch loan products with fast turnaround, these new platforms present an opportunity for Vitas to leverage our expertise and investment capital for expanded reach and impact.
In 2021, Vitas Group and Global Communities’ management committees approved an allocation of $5 million to launch Vitas Ventures, an initiative aimed at capitalizing on identified commercial and social return opportunities via direct investment and partnership. Over the course of this year, the Ventures team consulted impact investment industry experts and the newly-formed Vitas Investment Committee to shape an investment mandate and thesis for Vitas Ventures to succeed and scale.
Vitas Ventures will place investments between $250k and $1 million in early-stage, technology-driven companies that further Vitas’ mission of financial inclusion and economic development. With one investment already finalized (see Toters spotlight), and 15-20 opportunities in the pipeline, the fund will also consider investments in companies outside Vitas Group’s region of operation, including Global Communities project countries. Ventures will supplement investment with advisory support, while leveraging Vitas’ network of likeminded investors and donor institutions for co-investment and follow-on funding.
In coming years, Vitas Ventures will expand from its current pilot phase to a larger fund, with intention to attract both external investment and donor funding for technical assistance to investees. The present focus is on building an initial track record of commercially sound, mission-aligned investments, and growing the team to scale this promising new business vertical.
Toters, a Lebanon-based food and household goods delivery platform, approached Vitas Ventures with an opportunity to directly invest in expansion into Iraq. In December 2021, Vitas Ventures issued a $500k convertible note to Toters, a bridge loan toward closing their IFC-led $15 million Series B funding round. Our financing enabled expansion of the courier fleet and grocery delivery operations in Iraq, while Vitas piloted a retailer inventory financing product in Lebanon which it expects to replicate in Iraq.
In June 2022, Vitas Ventures elected to convert this note to an equity investment in the Series B round, expected to close in August. Since Vitas’ initial investment, Toters’ average daily orders and monthly revenue have nearly doubled, and the company has secured a market-leading position in both Lebanon and Iraq. As Ventures’ first investment, Toters is a marquee case for expanding the Vitas client base while realizing commercial and social returns in one of the region’s most promising digital platforms.
Partners and Investors
Corporations and Foundations
Al Etihad Bank
Al Quds Bank
Al Rafah Microfinance Bank (National Bank)
Al Watany Bank, Egypt
Arab Bank, Jordan
Bamboo Financial Inclusion Fund
Banca Comerciala Română / Erste Group
Bank Al-Etihad, Jordan
Bank of Palestine
Cairo Amman Bank
Calvert Impact Capital
Commercial International Bank
European Investment Fund
Egyptian Arab Land Bank
Global Microfinance Fund
Palestinian Fund for Employment
Antares Capital Advisors
Biroul de Credit SA
Cash United s.a.l.
Credit Libanais s.a.l.
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
Habitat for Humanity
Housing Bank for Trade and Finance, Iraq
Housing Bank for Trade and Finance, Jordan
IFB Finwest SA
Iraq Microfinance Network
Jordan Ahli Bank
Jordan Kuwait Bank
Lebanese Microfinance Association-LMFA
LMFA – Lebanese Microfinance Association
Palladium Group – USAID Lebanon LIFE Project
RisCo Servicii Financiare
Sanabel Microfinance Network
SARADAR Bank s.a.l.
Sharakeh- Palestinian Microfinance Network
Government or Multilateral Institutions
U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
EIB – European Investment Bank
European Investment Fund
International Finance Corporation
SANAD Fund for MSME
|Summary Indicators||Jordan||Egypt||East Africa|
|# Guarantees in quarter||19||1||4|
|$ of guarantees in quarter (mln)||$10.60||$0.48||$0.50|
|# of guarantees since inception||664||688||11 | 1363|
|$ of guarantees since inception (mln)||$187||$200.30||$1.22 | $389|
|Women owned SMEs % of portfolio||16%||7.50%||45% | 23%|