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Golden Equator, Korea Investment Partners set up S$120m fund for South-east Asian tech startups

GOLDEN Equator Capital (GEC), a Singapore-based fund management firm, and Korea Investment Partners (KIP), a Seoul-headquarted venture capital and private equity firm, are jointly launching a S$120 million venture fund for South-east Asian tech companies.

Known as the GEC-KIP Technology and Innovation Fund, it will invest in Series A and Series B high-growth startups based in South-east Asia, with a "small proportion" reserved for South Korean companies looking to expand into the region via Singapore. The average ticket size will be between S$2 million and S$5 million, GEC said on Monday.

The fund has 65 per cent committed capital to-date, and expects to fundraise the first phase of its fund by end-August and final phase by end-2018, GEC added. Many institutional investors have invested in the fund as limited partners.

The launch of the GEC-KIP Fund will see KIP establish its foothold in South-east Asia with Singapore as its headquarters. KIP’s investment professionals will be based in Singapore at Spectrum, a tech and innovation business club located in Duo Tower in Bugis. Spectrum is founded by Golden Equator Group, the parent company of GEC.

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Spectrum is also home to the "Korea-Singapore Healthcare Incubator", which was established in September 2017 through an alliance between Golden Equator Group and a South Korean entity, C&R Healthcare, to help Korean healthcare businesses expand into South-east Asia.

Shirley Chua, founder and group chief of Golden Equator Group, said: “With the continuous upgrade of the region's technological and digital capabilities as well as economic integration, there will be ample opportunity for growth and investments.

"We have always been at the forefront of establishing these connections between Singapore and Korea through our work with both the private and public sectors in Korea. We are positive that having Korea’s leading venture capitalist as our partner will help create a stronger startup ecosystem for Asia via cross learning, knowledge transfer and network sharing.”

KIP is managing 41 funds with assets under management of US$2 billion. In the last 10 years, KIP has reportedly liquidated 12 funds with an average internal rate of return of 18 per cent and with no net loss on any fund. KIP backs more than 120 companies every year, said GEC.