Asia Partners — the Singapore-based private equity (PE) firm launched by former Sea Ltd president Nick Nash and Naspers B2C e-commerce division’s former CEO Oliver Rippel — has made another close of its debut fund at $282 million, its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission showed.
Asia Partners did not specify the hard cap and timeline for its maiden vehicle, Asia Partners I, but industry sources said the firm is targeting to raise around $350 million for the fund that focuses on Southeast Asian tech startups.
The filing showed that the vehicle has so far raised $281.96 million and has attracted commitments from 74 investors since its launch in May 2019.
Asia Partners I is looking to make investments starting from $20 million across Southeast Asian tech startups.
“We don’t go below $20 million in cheque size – that’s a well-established segment with some terrific firms already there, helping to find early-stage companies. And we don’t go above $100 million, because that’s well established as well. We focus in the middle which helps bridge that journey from startup to a unicorn,” Nash said in an earlier statement.
The fund made a $78 million first close in November 2019, which signaled strong investor appetite for Southeast Asia’s burgeoning market for e-commerce, payments, mobile apps, and other tech and internet startups. In January 2020, it made another close of the fund at $117.85 million.
Nash, who left Tencent-backed Sea in December 2018, earlier justified the move for launching a growth fund by saying that Southeast Asia had the potential to create over $400 billion of new technology sector equity value over the next decade.
His projection is aligned with the earlier forecast of Bain & Company, which expects the region’s digital economy to triple in size and reach $240 billion over the next seven years, with Southeast Asia giving rise to at least 10 new unicorns.
“It’s about 100 times harder to raise a venture capital check of between $20-100 million in Southeast Asia than it is in the United States, and about five times harder than in China. That makes no sense to us – but it’s also a huge opportunity to back terrific companies and help them scale to their IPOs,” Nash earlier said.
Fundraising momentum slowed down for Southeast Asia-focused PE funds in the first half of 2020 due to the global coronavirus pandemic but activities in the private capital space are picking up, according to DealStreetAsia’s research and analytics report.
In the first six months of 2020, only one Southeast Asia-focused fund managed to reach a final close, against three in each of the three preceding semesters. At $595 million, however, Quadria Capital’s second fund is the largest raised by a regional PE firm since the beginning of 2018.
Earlier this week, Singapore-based PE Tower Capital Asia raised $250 million for its SE Asia-focused fund, Tower Capital PE Fund I, marking the first close of the fund.
Malaysia’s Creador also announced plans to launch its fifth fund in March, seeking to raise $650 million, according to its founder and CEO Brahmal Vasudevan.