Frontier Markets Focus

We reject traditional definitions of frontier markets based on metrics such as liquidity and GDP. Instead we look globally for regional markets where we identify the following:

1. The rapid emergence of private enterprise from a low base
2. The high prevalence of positive secular trends
3. The existence of base digital infrastructure on which to build technology-enabled businesses
4. Opportunities to monetise efficiency gains through technology
5. Opportunities to implement ‘tried and tested’ business models
6. An absence of private capital funding innovation

Sector Focus

We look for businesses with a significant addressable market and independent growth dynamics which insulate them from the natural volatility of frontier economies. In pursuit of this, there are two primary areas of focus:

Technology-enabled businesses
  • Frontier markets have seen a rapid development of their digital infrastructure (high smartphone penetration and widespread 3G/4G internet coverage) leading to a range of new business opportunities.
  • There are many opportunities for tech-enabled and software businesses to rapidly grow market share as they solve business and consumer inefficiencies.
  • Governments are actively encouraging both the public and private sector to adopt digitalisation, both for efficiency gains and the transparency.
  • Very few people are funding these opportunities. In some markets, Sturgeon is the only international VC.
Financial services
  • Financial penetration is exceptionally low. In our markets only 50% of the population have a bank account and 5% have taken out a formal loan.
  • To reduce the size of the informal economy, governments are increasingly requiring workers to have a bank account and digital identity.
  • Whilst financial services are inherently cyclical, the catch-up that financial services will go through to get to a normalised level of financial integration/inclusion represents a significant secular trend.
  • Very few institutions have the capacity and ability to fund these opportunities.

Frontier Markets Insights

Blue Collar HRm Digitalising the frontier workforce Insights

Across frontier markets, blue collar workers are the backbone of economic growth yet they are poorly supported by technology for their Human Resources requirements. In this Sturgeon insight report we analyse the start-ups addressing this gap in the market, the solutions that have been developed and the challenges they face.

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An introduction to Sturgeon’s impact investing approach Insights

In this edition of Sturgeon Insights, the team introduce their data-driven approach to impact investing. The central premise of the team’s rigorous impact framework is that investing in innovative, technology-enabled companies that create private-sector jobs can generate long-term sustainable social impact and superior financial returns for investors.

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The rise and rise of super apps in emerging markets Insights

With the enormous success of super apps in emerging markets, this insights report highlights their important characteristics and introduces the huge opportunity for similar platforms in frontier markets.

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