SINGAPORE and South-east Asian startups are set for a major venture capital (VC) boost, even as regional venture deals hit a record US$1 billion last year, said a recent report by global data company Preqin and the Singapore Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.
On Thursday, Venturra Capital, a newly-minted VC fund sponsored by Indonesia's real-estate development group Lippo, launched its US$150 million Venturra Fund I to nurture tech and Internet businesses in South-east Asia.
The fund, which targets early and growth-stage ventures in e-commerce, financial services, health care and education, will be headquartered in Jakarta and run by three managing partners: Rudy Ramawy, previously country director of Google Indonesia; Stefan Jung, former founder and managing partner of Rocket Internet South-east Asia; and John Riady, director of Lippo Group.
A Venturra spokeswoman said: "We actively meet startups across South-east Asia, and Singapore, with its active startup ecosystem, is certainly among the top on our list."
In the last few weeks, the fund has made more than 10 investments across South-east Asia and in Singapore, announcements of which will be made later, she added.
"Our strength and focus is in helping entrepreneurs scale their businesses in the region, including in Indonesia, the largest market in South-east Asia."
The spokeswoman said Venturra enjoys a "unique" relationship with Lippo, which, as a sponsoring limited partner of the fund and one of the largest, most diversified consumer services groups in Indonesia, will provide unparalleled access to a broad range of industries, a regional network of business and a stable of corporate leaders. "Venturra will combine its independence and this unique access to build partnerships that empower founders and allow portfolio companies to scale quickly and gain traction."
Lippo's portfolio of tech investments under Lippo Digital Ventures will be merged with Venturra Fund I. Lippo's Mr Riady said: "The South-east Asian markets are some of the most promising economies in the world, with some of the best entrepreneurs globally. Eighty years from now, we want to look back, point to some of the most transformative companies in the region and say we played a part in contributing to their success."
Meanwhile, 500 Startups, a prominent Silicon Valley VC firm which has invested in 1,200 businesses across 50 countries since 2010, is reported to be doubling its South-east Asia fund to US$20 million under its micro fund named "500 Durians", which it launched in May 2013 to invest in tech startups in the region. Genting, which controls South-east Asia's largest casino operator, is believed to be investing US$3 million in the fund, Bloomberg reported.