DBS and Heritas Capital have disclosed the profitable first closing of the Asia Impact First Fund (AIFF), which raised more than $20m, with a $10m commitment from DBS as the anchor investor.

When DBS Foundation worked with social entrepreneurs in Asia over the years, it noticed that a lack of finance options frequently inhibited their growth.

It then started looking into ways to bridge the funding gap while also cultivating an ecosystem of like-minded investors to help high-potential social entrepreneur’s scale.

As a result of this, the DBS Foundation and Heritas Capital collaborated to design the fund. As a result, in August of last year, the Asia Impact First Fund (AIFF) was launched.

Heritas Capital is a private equity and venture capital investment business based in Singapore that is developing a multi-fund impact investment platform that invests in firms in the healthcare, education, environment, and technology sectors.

“Heritas Capital is pleased to launch and deploy the Asia Impact First Fund, amongst the first of its kind within the impact investment space,’’ stated Chik Wai Chiew, CEO and Executive Director of Heritas Capital.

‘’We are grateful to like-minded investors such as DBS and the other founding members of the AIFF, who seek to co-create a new impact investment category which prioritises impact over profit. We look forward to raising awareness and shifting consciousness within societies across Asia towards addressing the funding gaps for fast-growing social enterprises that offer innovative solutions for enhancing livelihoods of disadvantaged communities and protecting the environment.”

The AIFF wants to provide catalytic growth investment to 10 to 15 Asian social companies with a target fund size of USD 50 million.

These social entrepreneurs would have effectively demonstrated the fund’s impact themes, “Improving Lives and Livelihoods” and “Protecting the Environment,” as well as realistic business growth strategies to scale their impact and profitability.

The AIFF, which is motivated by an impact-first approach, examines returns in terms of long-term effect outcomes as well as financial benefit.

DBS’ cornerstone investment in the AIFF illustrates the bank’s continuous efforts to raise funds in support of the sector’s expansion, as well as its commitment to aiding social entrepreneurs who are addressing critical social and environmental concerns in Asia.

Karen Ngui, DBS Strategic Marketing and Communications and Board Member of DBS Foundation, said: “As a purpose-driven organisation, we are guided by our commitment to help pave the way towards a better world for generations today and tomorrow,’’ Karen Ngui, DBS Strategic Marketing and Communications and DBS Foundation Board Member, said.

‘’Businesses for impact, which pursue a dual bottom-line of profit and impact and are addressing key societal gaps from a systemic level, play an increasingly important role in this. There’s a heightened need to cultivate a strong ecosystem to support their growth – and through the AIFF, we hope to bring together like-minded partners who share our desire to empower more of these innovative and meaningful businesses, and enable them to thrive, scale, and go on to create greater positive impact.”

Several family offices, foundations, corporates, and high net worth individuals who have expressed interest in AIFF include Tsao Family Office, IMC Group, Ishk Tolaram Foundation, ANF Family Office, Octava chairman Pang Sze Khai, and others.