NIB: Earlybird Launches New Fund for ‘Underserved’ Turkey and CEE Market

By David Knight |

*** News In Brief ***

Berlin-based VC Earlybird has announced the initial closing of its new fund focused on Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) worth $110 million (€81.3m). The Digital East fund, which will eventually hit $130m, is aimed at disruptive consumer Internet, mobile and enterprise tech companies in what Earlybird describes as an “underserved” market for early stage investment. The news means that more than $900 million has been raised by Earlybird since it was founded in 1997.

In a release, the company said that the new fund would concentrate on early stage and early growth investments in a region featuring rapid economic expansion, young and growing populations embracing new technologies and an ever-increasing income per capita.

Additionally, the Digital East fund – which has been incorporated in Luxembourg – will look to founders building businesses serving “large, rapidly growing and preferably global or regional markets with capital-efficient business models, demonstrating sustainable competitive advantage.”

Among the institutions which have committed money to the fund are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Fund, the International Finance Corporation and Turkey’s dedicated fund of funds and co-investment program, the Istanbul Venture Capital Initiative (iVCi). Family offices and entrepreneurs around the globe are also taking part.

The team put together to manage the new fund includes serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ali Kutay acting as a venture advisor, and he said: “This Earlybird Fund will help exceptional tech entrepreneurs in Turkey and CEE succeed on a global scale.”