Today, global venture capital firm Cathay Innovation announced a strategic partnership with leading Spanish investment firm Seaya Ventures. By combining Cathay’s global ecosystem of investors, startups and Fortune 500 corporations with Seaya’s unmatched expertise in Southern Europe and Latin America, the partnership creates a stronger and more expansive investment platform that grants more startups access to worldwide resources and the capital they need to scale.
The partnership comes after years of collaboration through six co-investments including leading Spanish companies such as Glovo, Savana, Housfy, Coverfy and Wallbox as well as Paris-based Alma. With a mutual commitment to backing technology companies that bring a positive impact, the collaboration creates natural synergies: Seaya bridges the early-stage pre-Series A and B investment gap in Southern Europe while Cathay Innovation specializes in accelerating early-growth startups on a full global scale. As part of the agreement, Cathay Innovation will take a minority stake in Seaya’s management company.
International interest in the European technology ecosystem is rapidly rising from investors and startups alike. According to Pitchbook, 2020 was a record year for the European technology ecosystem which drew €43 billion in venture capital deal value with two-thirds of the total coming from cross-border investment. By infusing Seaya Venture’s regional expertise and network into Cathay’s global ecosystem, the goal is to further coalesce the investment landscape and empower entrepreneurs with greater access to global funding, knowledge and potential partners to fuel startup growth. In addition, the partnership will enable Seaya Ventures to broaden its investment focus beyond Southern Europe to become a reference early-stage European investor.
Based in Madrid, Seaya Ventures has invested in some of the most prominent startups emerging from Southern Europe and Latin America, including Spain’s first two unicorns: ridesharing company Cabify and on-demand delivery app Glovo (Cathay Innovation also co-led its 2017 Series B). On the other hand, Cathay has backed breakout companies across the world from US digital bank Chime to France’s crypto leader Ledger and China’s e-commerce giant Pinduoduo. Importantly, the firm counts some of the world’s largest corporations as investors and strategic partners in its fund, including Bpifrance, BNP Cardif, Groupe ADP, Groupe SEB, Michelin, Valeo, Sanofi, Accor, L’Oreal, BioMerieux, CMA-CGM, Kering, Unilever and Pernod Ricard.
Beatriz Gonzalez, Founder and Managing Partner, Seaya Ventures says: “At Seaya Ventures, we are thrilled to partner with Cathay Innovation on our joint mission to support and scale emerging startups to market leaders and have long been aligned both culturally and philosophically — demonstrated by our strong co-investment track record. Spain’s startup landscape, along with many other Spanish speaking countries, is becoming increasingly more global. As we’ve seen within our portfolio, such as Glovo and Wallbox, the region is drawing more capital from cross-border investments as companies are rapidly expanding to international markets. With its global reach and unique corporate ecosystem across sectors, our partnership with Cathay will enable greater opportunity for startups to access global funding and potential partners, expand internationally and become European leaders.”
Mingpo Cai, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Cathay Capital: “Seaya Ventures has played a critical role in the rising startup and technology landscape in Spain and across many Spanish speaking countries. We are extremely fortunate to count Beatriz and the entire team as trusted and knowledgeable partners that not only represents another bridge across continents, cultures and knowledge from Europe to China, the US, Africa, Latin America and beyond, but breaks the imaginary borders separating investment firms. At Cathay Capital, we believe that all people driving innovation forward – whether that’s entrepreneurs, investors or leading corporate executives – need to learn and work together to build the extraordinary companies that will lead the transformation towards a more digital, sustainable and equitable world”.
Jacky Abitbol, Managing Partner, Cathay Innovation: “With the globalization of technology, venture capital has expanded across the world yet is still largely siloed by region, limiting the support and access to knowledge firms can provide startups. This is precisely why we built our global platform, to help entrepreneurs everywhere grow and lead, whether that be in their home markets or on the global stage. After many years of working with the talented Seaya team, we’re honored to formalize our partnership that will further strengthen our platform throughout Southern Europe and Latin America, boost collaboration across the landscape and—above all else—bring greater value to the mission-driven entrepreneurs looking to make a greater impact on global communities”.