Investors in the fund include the International Finance Corporation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO
US-based private-equity firm Horizon Capital said it had raised a higher-than-expected $125 million at the first close of its Horizon Capital Growth Fund IV, which has been set up to invest in technology and other export-oriented companies in Ukraine and the surrounding region.
A signing ceremony for the fund, which has a target size of $250m, was held at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) office in London in late September. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky joined the meeting via video link from Ukraine.
Backers for the fund include the IFC and other development finance institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Germany’s DEG and FMO of the Netherlands. Other investors include the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (“SIFEM”), the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), and the Zero Gap Fund, an impact investment partnership between the Rockefeller Foundation and the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation.
Lenna Koszarny, Horizon Capital’s CEO, said she was confident that the fund would deliver both returns and impact, despite the crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of the country in February.
“Ukraine needs investors who believe in the country, who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its people, who are leading the way for others, and who leave no stone unturned to ensure that investment capital is available already now, and not only once the war ends. Ukrainians must have access to sufficient resources today to propel the economic rebound, renewal and revitalization of their country,” she said.
FMO, which has committed up to $20m to the fund, said investing in IT and technology companies in Ukraine made sense because they had proved to be resilient in the crisis. It said these firms continued to provide good quality jobs for young people and also generated substantial inflows of much need hard currency earnings for the Ukrainian economy.
“Ukrainian companies have demonstrated great resilience and especially tech-focused SMEs have proven their importance to the economy since the start of the war,” Jaap Reinking, Director Private Equity at FMO, said.
That resilience was demonstrated by a 23% year-on-year expansion of export revenues from Ukraine’s tech sector in the first half of 2022 to $3.74 billion, with over $8 billion forecast for 2022 as a whole, according to Vasile Tofan, senior partner at Horizon Capital
HCGF IV will make investments of around $10m-$30m, mainly in tech and export-oriented companies and follows on from Horizon Capital’s previous $200 million fund in 2017, which targeted similar firms.
Horizon Capital was founded in 2006 as a spin-out of the investment management team of WNISEF, a fund set up in 1994 to focus on Ukraine and Moldova. Horizon has over $1.2 billion under management in six funds, with a capital base of over $570bn. Funds managed by Horizon Capital have invested in over 160 companies employing more than 77,000 people in the region, the company said.
Its two founding partners are Koszarny, a Canadian business executive of Ukrainian descent, and Jeffrey C Neal, who is chairman of the company’s investment committee. He formerly held senior jobs at Merrill Lynch, including chairman of global investment banking.