Garena raises $170m in Series D led by Malaysian state fund Khazanah

Southeast Asia’s largest internet and mobile platform company Garena Interactive Holding Limited has closed a Series D round of $170 million, led by Malaysia state fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

Garena told DEALSTREETASIA that another of its existing shareholder was also an important contributor to this fresh round of funding, but declined to reveal who it was.

Khazanah joins Garena’s existing team of international financial investors including General Atlantic LLC, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and Keytone Ventures. Khazanah is the strategic investment fund of the Malaysian government.

Singapore-based Garena was the first Southeast Asia internet investment for each of these firms. Founded in 2009, Garena has raised over $500 million so far in venture funding.

Garena has achieved compound annual revenue growth of more than 90 per cent over the past five years to over $300 million of gross revenue in 2015.

Garena founder, chairman and group chief executive, Forrest Li said, “Khazanah’s experience in building leading businesses will help us strengthen our leadership position across our digital content, e-commerce, and payment platforms.”

In further comments to DEALSTREETASIA, Li said Khazanah’s involvement adds to the diversity of Garena’s shareholders, making Garena a truly pan-Asean company with strong local expertise.

Of note, Khazanah has been an active investor in world-class innovation and technology companies around the world including direct investments in Alibaba Group (eCommerce marketplaces), WeLab (online lending), Cainiao (eCommerce logistics), and Blippar (augmented reality and artificial intelligence), plus indirect investments in Uber (ride sharing), the company said.

The internet company is the market leader in interactive digital content in Greater Southeast Asia and has strategically built on that position of strength to launch two complementary consumer offerings through Shopee, a mobile-centric online marketplace, and AirPay, a payments platform.

Li commented that with this new round of capital, the group believes that Shopee and AirPay will be the leading offerings in the market.

“Shopee is the fastest growing ecommerce business the region has ever seen and is among the fastest growing in the world,” Garena group president Nicholas A. Nash said.

“Likewise, AirPay is the fastest growing digital payments business in the region and is tightly integrated with our content and ecommerce operations. These growth trajectories highlight the potential of a unified platform to serve the hundreds of millions of internet and mobile users in our region while bringing shared value to our content partners, marketplace sellers, and payment partners,” Nash added..

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