The Women’s World Banking Capital Partners Fund II (WWBCPII) is a blended fund that benefits from a layered capital structure, blending first-loss equity, equity-participating debt, and technical assistance grants to attract commercial capital at scale. The Fund aims to close the 9% gender gap in women’s access to financial services in developing markets.
WWBCPII is managed by WWB Asset Management (WAM), a for-profit asset management company and wholly owned subsidiary of Women’s World Banking. WWBCPII builds on the success of Women’s World Banking Capital Partners Fund I (WWBCPI), a $50 million traditional private equity fund that launched in 2012. WWBCPII is supported by a range of impact investors, development agencies, and foundations.
To support the Fund’s gender strategy, WWBCPII benefits from a sidecar technical assistance program (TAP). In 2018, Convergence provided WAM with early design-stage funding to refine and further develop its existing gender methodology, as well as finalize the Fund’s structure and financial model. The design of WWBCPII provides several insights for practitioners looking to structure blended products that bolster gender equality and financial inclusion:
-Blended finance requires flexibility from all parties, in order to align preferences and find a structure that works for all
-Grant capital can be a powerful tool for bolstering impact, including gender equality
-Investing in financial inclusion in emerging markets, particularly with a gender lens, is commercially viable – but perceived risk continues to be a barrier
-Complexity can serve as an added challenge when seeking scale