Myanmar-focused PE firm Anthem Asia hits $34.5m first close on SME venture fund

Anthem Asia's Josephine Price at the DEALSTREETASIA Asia PE-VC Summit 2016 in Singapore. Photo: DEALSTREETASIA

Myanmar-focused private equity firm Anthem Asia has hit the first close of its debut vehicle – Myanmar SME Venture Fund – with $34.5 million in commitments from three institutional investors.  The Fund is targeting a total of up to US$50 million of committed capital.

This portal had first reported in February this year that Anthem Asia was raising $40-50 million vehicle, that aims to provide growth and expansion capital to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in that country. That report had also added that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, was planning to invest up to $15 million in the PE firm’s maiden fund.

The three institutional investors, which have made allotments to the Myanmar SME Venture Fund include IFC, the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF – a Dutch government initiative to improve access to finance for SMEs in developing countries, managed by Triple Jump B.V.), and CDC Group plc (the UK-government development finance institution), the firm said in a statement.

The new vehicle, that will focus on providing growth and expansion capital to, small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in that country will target ticket sizes of up to $3 million.

Anthem Asia said its fund would favour asset-light businesses serving primarily domestic demand in such sectors as agri-business, business & financial services, education & training, food & beverage, healthcare, logistics, and marketing communications.

This will be a 10-year closed-end fund, and Anthem Asia also becomes the first Myanmar-dedicated private equity firm to get investment from IFC.

“We are delighted to achieve this milestone with IFC, DGGF and CDC. Myanmar offers many exciting opportunities and, in spite of the often difficult operating environment, has huge long-term potential as it re-engages with the Asian and global economy,” Josephine Price, co-founder and managing director of Anthem Asia.

“Myanmar businesses struggle to grow as they lack access to funding—the capital market is in its infancy and bank finance is hard to come by. Our fund will provide outstanding entrepreneurs who share our vision on what makes for a sustainable business with the means to successfully scale up,” she added.

Anthem Asia is a women-led firm, managed by veteran private equity investors Josephine Price and Genevieve Heng. They had launched the firm in 2013 as an investment and advisory group to build sustainable businesses.

Myanmar businesses in which Anthem Asia holds a stake include F&B group Rangoon Tea House, an award-winning restaurant pride for its traditional culinary receipts, Thalun International School, which offers affordable US-style education, MOVE, a fitness chain in Yangon, Revo Digital, a digital agency and premier serviced office space provider, Hintha Business Centres.

“The Myanmar investment story is a digitally-driven, mobile-savvy version of the Asian investment story of the past three decades: the rise of the consumer; urbanisation; the rise of a middle class; the development of strong local brands. We see opportunities flowing from each of these,” said Price.

Previously focused on early-stage businesses’ with follow-on investments, the private equity firm will enhance its offerings to and look at financing ventures that require growth and expansion capital, most of who are family-operated firms.

“Women-owned and women-managed businesses will be of particular interest,” said Price.

Other Myanmar-focussed PE funds include Delta Capital that had closed its second fund at $70 million, making it the largest country-focussed vehicle,   even as the firm fell short of its target of raising $100 million, and Golden Rock Capital that has been raising its $100 million fund since 2016.

Also Read:

Exclusive: Anthem Asia to raise $40-50m for SME fund, IFC mulling up to $15m funding

Myanmar’s Delta Capital hits final close of second fund at about $70m, falls short of $100m target

Greater Mekong-focused Belt Road Capital to deploy $50m debut fund in 10 deals

 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.