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MyRepublic snags S$70m investment to scale up products, expand regionally

PRIVATE equity firm Makara Capital is putting S$70 million into telecommunications operator MyRepublic, it announced on Wednesday.

This is the first chunk of cash confirmed for MyRepublic's Series C funding round, which originally had a S$100 million fund-raising target.

The lead investment from the billion-dollar Makara Innovation Fund will be used to grow MyRepublic's geographical footprint and to scale up its product and service offering, the telecom company said.

The cash has let the company set its sights higher for both fund-raising and business growth, according to Malcolm Rodrigues, chief executive of MyRepublic.

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He told a media briefing: "The use of proceeds fundamentally (is) around growing our consumer business, growing our enterprise business, in our four markets, and as well investing in the platform to drive the capability for our growth."

MyRepublic now operates in Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia, and has identified Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia as South-east Asian markets that it wants to move into.

The investment, Mr Rodrigues said, will "effectively triple the business over the next few years and drive the valuation further".

He also said that the move would "supercharge" the development of the company's proprietary cloud platform, which he credited for enabling growth in new markets.

Kelvin Tan, director of investments at Makara Capital, said in a media release: "The fund's investment capital aims to enable the company's growth ambitions, with a focus on (intellectual property) management and monetisation, scaling and expansion."

Meanwhile, Makara Capital chief executive and co-founder Ali Ijaz Ahmad said at the briefing that his firm was taking "a substantial stake" in MyRepublic and has not ruled out chipping in again if this investment pans out well.

With Makara Capital's money, Mr Rodrigues told media that he was looking to net a bigger haul in the Series C round.

The fund-raising could now yield "at least S$150 million".

He noted: "It looks like we'll be fortunate enough to go beyond the S$100 million in terms of the money that we can tap into, and we'll use that to accelerate our business."

Sales targets might go up with the bigger injection of funds, Mr Rodrigues said.

He also reiterated that MyRepublic is on track for a public listing in the next 18 months.

"With Makara taking the lead, with some follow-up investors, we expect to be oversubscribed," he added.

Makara Innovation Fund, which focuses on late-stage startups and growth-stage companies leveraging Singapore as a regional hub, was advised by strategic partner IP ValueLab.

Management consultancy service provider IP ValueLab - a unit of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore - had assessed MyRepublic to have "strong brand equity, technical know-how, substantial data assets and scalable digital platforms", according to its executive director, Tan Shau En.