VC firm Tofino Capital has completed a first close of US$5 million of a US$10 million fund focused on investing in early-stage companies in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.
Founded by by Eliot Pence and Aubrey Hruby, Tofino Capital has secured funding from limited partners that include large family offices, top-tier venture funds and HNWIs, and will invest between US$$50,000 and US$1 million in pre-seed and seed companies across all sectors, but with a particular focus on B2B. The fund builds off Pence and Hruby’s own angel investments in startups like Sabi, SeamlessHR and Eksab.
“We were driven by a question we didn’t think the venture community had answered. ‘Why do some of the fastest growing markets have the lowest per capita availability of venture financing?’ Egypt, Philippines, Nigeria and Bangladesh, for example, have on average US$5 per capita of venture investment, whereas China is above US$40,” Pence said.
“We were also inspired by firms like Founders Fund, A16Z and Derris, which emphasise the importance of the founder and the story they are telling. For many entrepreneurs in frontier markets, having an amazing story isn’t the hard part, it’s getting the story out there that’s hard. We feel we are uniquely positioned to help them do that.”
Pence and Hruby are also co-founders of public relations firm, insiderPR, which it says gives it early access to some of the fastest growing startups in emerging markets.