The Business Times

Genesis Alternative Ventures closes US$80m debt fund anchored by Sassoon family

Published Thu, Apr 15, 2021 · 02:24 PM
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SINGAPORE-BASED Genesis Alternative Ventures on Thursday said it has closed its first fund at US$80 million, exceeding its initial target of some US$70 million

Genesis Alternative Ventures Fund I is anchored by family office Sassoon Investment Corp, who are shareholders of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Other investors include Japan's Aozora Bank, Korea Development Bank and Hong Kong multi-asset investment firm Silverhorn Group, the firm said. 

Earlier commitments include Seattle-based global investment impact fund Capria Fund and Indonesia's PT Bank CIMB Niaga. CIMB Niaga is the second-largest private national bank in Indonesia by assets.

Venture debt is a form of financing typically suited for high-growth startups that do not have significant assets to be used as collateral under traditional bank lending. The company will have to repay the loan over time with an agreed-upon interest rate.

It is not a direct replacement for VC-backed equity rounds, but it can be an attractive complement. Venture debt can offer young companies some cash flow without founders having to give up too much ownership. It also can provide a relatively fast way to access new funds, or help startups extend their runway between equity rounds.

Venture debt in South-east Asia has been "thrust into the limelight during the Covid period", said Jeremy Loh, co-founder and managing partner at Genesis Alternative Ventures. He added that entrepreneurs in the region are seeking "more efficient capital and putting in place additional capital buffers". 


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Genesis has since deployed over US$30 million to 12 venture-backed companies across South-east Asia. They include cybersecurity firm Horangi, Indonesian flexible space provider GoWork, and expert network platform Lynk Global. 

The company, which is South-east Asia's first independent venture debt business, was founded in 2018 by Dr Loh, Ben J Benjamin, and Martin Tang.

Mr Benjamin is the son-in-law of Sassoon family patriarch Victor Sassoon, and non-executive director of Israel-based online venture capital platform, OurCrowd Singapore. 

Meanwhile, Dr Loh and Mr Tang also have experience in venture lending and equity investing, and spearheaded DBS Venture Growth Partners, specialising in venture debt from 2015 to 2018.

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