Philippines-listed conglomerate Ayala Corporation has closed its new global venture capital fund at $180 million, making it the largest VC fund to emerge out of the Southeast Asian country.
The amount raised by Ayala Corporation and its subsidiaries for the Active Fund is 20 per cent more than the initial $150-million target announced by Ayala chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala at the time of the fund’s launch in April 2019.
“We have our work cut out for us now that the Active Fund has closed. We begin our global search for disruptive startups driving towards our shared vision of the future,” said Minette Navarette, president at Kickstart Ventures, which is the sole manager of the VC fund.
The fund is anchored by Ayala Corporation, with participation from several of its subsidiaries — AC Energy, AC Industrials, AC Ventures, and BPI — besides Kickstart’s parent company Globe Telecom.
Active Fund is short for “Ayala Corporation Technology Innovation Venture.” It was named Active to debunk misconceptions that corporate venture capital is passive, “dumb”, or slow-moving.
The fund, which is Ayala’s first VC vehicle, seeks to deploy between $2 million and $10 million per deal globally at Series A to D funding stages. It will focus on sectors such as fintech, e-commerce, construction tech, and proptech.
It is also interested in solutions to urban city problems in emerging Asia, which may entail areas such as raising skillsets for blue-collar workers and creating access to scarce resources like water.
“It may seem counter-intuitive to increase investments at a time of economic uncertainty, but the past decades have shown world-changing, industry-defining innovations rising during regional and global disruptions,” Navarette added.
The Active Fund will be the third fund managed by Kickstart Ventures. Its previous two funds were a $50 million early-stage fund (2015 vintage) and a $9 million seed-stage evergreen fund (2012 vintage).
Kickstart managed to secure an exit last year when Indonesia’s Gojek acquired its portfolio company Coins.ph. The deal, which is estimated to be worth around $72 million, gave Kickstart a return of “many multiples,” according to Navarrete. She noted that Coins.ph was an exception as exits in the Philippines are still hard to come by.