An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers


An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2024 PROFILE


Total Assets Under Management: $100 – 499M
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes, Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth
Sustainable Agriculture
Small/Medium Business Development
Job creation and workforce development

Firm Overview

Category: Venture Capital - Early Stage (Pre-seed/seed, Accelerator, Angel) - Emerging Markets

For over thirty years, SEAF has been a leader in emerging/frontier market impact investing, providing growth capital and business assistance to more than 400 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in markets largely underserved by traditional sources of capital. Targeting Impact Through Entrepreneurs, SEAF’s mission is to improve lives and communities through entrepreneur-focused investment. SEAF has managed or is managing 41 Funds and 14 Centers for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED) across more than 30 countries. SEAF has made more than 430 impact investments and realized over 300 exits while achieving significant impact consistent with its mission. 

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 10 years or more
Total Assets Under Management:
$100 – 499M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: Less than 25%
Investment Thesis:

SEAF’s investment thesis is Impact Through Entrepreneurs, wherein SEAF provides growth capital and business assistance to SMEs in emerging markets, seeking targeted financial returns and social impact aligned with the SDGs.

Investment Overview:

SEAF's investment thesis is to provide risk capital (equity, quasi-equity, and venture debt) and business assistance to SMEs in emerging and frontier markets with the purpose of achieving targeted financial returns and social impact for each respective fund. Targeted financial returns (deal, portfolio, and net) are a function of investor preferences, deal instruments to be used, market conditions, etc.. Social impact is a function of the theme/sector focus of a given fund and is aligned with the SDGs. Nevertheless, any impact made by a fund contributes to SEAF's mission of improving lives and communities, as well as SEAF's theory of change for that theme or sector.

Company Differentiator:

For thirty years, SEAF has been at the forefront of impact investing, bringing conventional investing practices to underserved emerging and frontier markets and providing entrepreneurs with the growth capital and business capacity building advisement needed to grow their businesses. Over that time, SEAF has grown into the industry leader, with more than twenty offices globally, spanning Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the MENA region, and Latin America; an investment team with significant experience in financial, operational, and impact-focused development; and an operational framework that joins traditional private equity fund management practices with impact-oriented monitoring and evaluation work. It is this unique combination that allows to SEAF to offer its investors and investees with the confidence that their work with SEAF will be aligned with private equity industry standards and will provide the social and environmental focus necessary to generate the impact sought after by today’s socially-minded investor.

Investment Example

In 2023, SEAF completed a successful investment cycle in Gomex, marking a significant milestone in the company's growth and the promotor's entrepreneurial journey. Gomex, a Serbian supermarket chain, flourished with SEAF's 2007 investment of €1.47 million, expanding from 16 stores to 207 stores, generating annual revenues of €147 million, and creating quality jobs. The successful exit to positions Gomex for further growth, and SEAF has invested in other supermarket companies globally to support local communities and sustainable development.

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Impact Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
Paul Sheehan – CEO More Info

aul Sheehan is the Chief Executive Officer of SEAF, and oversees the investment, advisory, and operations teams globally. He has spent his career in emerging markets investment and advisory, working on the ground in over 30 countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa. Paul has more than 25 years’ experience in financial institutions, having started as a central banker with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Subsequently he was Managing Director / Head of Asian Financial Institutions for Lehman Brothers and ING Barings, and a founder and CEO of Thaddeus Capital, an institutional fund manager headquartered in Hong Kong.

Bert van der Vaart – Co-Founder, CIO and Board Member More Info

Bert van der Vaart is the Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of SEAF, leading SEAF’s portfolio company investments and exits and also a member of SEAF’s Global Investment Committee. Bert co-founded SEAF in 1989 when it was known as the CARE Small Business Assistance Corporation (CARESBAC). In 1992, he negotiated the establishment of CARESBAC/SEAF’s first fund in Poland, which grew to $16.8 million total capital under management under his leadership as the fund’s Director General. While serving as Director-General of CARESBAC-Polska from 1994 until 1997, the company completed 27 SME investments and realized its first 6 exits. In 1997, Bert was appointed CEO and President of SEAF, where he has since been involved with the establishment and supervision of every SEAF fund.

Robert Vodicka – VP More Info

Robert Vodicka is an Vice President with SEAF working for the company’s global management team. Robert brings a multi-disciplinary approach to his work at SEAF, covering business development, impact, fund formation, finance, operations, and more. Robert heads SEAF’s Environmental, Social and Governance efforts to ensure that all investees meet SEAF standards and promote good practices within their businesses. Robert’s previous work was in small business management in operational and financial roles in the Chicago area. Prior to SEAF, Robert worked as Director of Operations for a mid-sized construction company with national operational focus.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as people of color:*
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as people of color:*
Less than 25%
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Market Rates
Actual Performance of Impact Products/Funds Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Creating jobs
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Increasing access to workforce development services, job skilling and retraining
Increasing access to education and improving educational outcomes
Increasing access to financial services
Increasing access to healthcare services and improving health
Increasing access to water and sanitation
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Business and legal training
Financial literacy training

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:

SEAF investments set intentional impact targets at the onset of each investment and track such metrics throughout the life of the hold period. In addition to core metrics of job creation, sustainable business growth and local tax revenue contributions, each investment sets 3-5 targets that indicate the impact intentionality unique to that business, aligning each with IRIS metrics. Each investment also identies the SDGs which are targeted for impact.

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:

Each SEAF investment undergoes a SEAF Social and Environmental Due Diligence screen to ensure that all companies: 1) are aware of and aligned with SEAF's commitment to ESG practices; 2) identify areas wherein ESG-related improvements are needed; and 3) systematically tracked and advised on how to increase social and environmental sustainability.

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Impact Verified by an Independent Third-Party:
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to investors and donors
Third Party Validations:
Member of Impact Capital Managers
Impact Frontiers Cohort Participant
Implement recommendations from Task Force on Climate Related-Financial Disclosure
Net Zero Assets Managers Initiative
Utilizes standardized impact metrics (e.g. IRIS+, GIIRS, etc.)
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Robert Vodicka
Phone: 630-514-1081
Mailing Address:

1500 K St NW Suite 375, Washington D.C. 20005 USA

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