Ant Financial-backed BAce Capital eyes up to $150m for early-stage SEA fund

L to R: Mulyono Xu, Benny Chen, and Kshitij Karundia of BAce Capital.

Ant Financial-backed BAce Capital is eyeing up to $150 million for its first early-stage Southeast Asian fund.

In an interview with DEALSTREETASIA, BAce Capital said it has secured $100 million in capital commitments from Ant Financial as well as institutional investors and high net-worth individuals from the US, China, India and Southeast Asia.

Alibaba’s Ant Financial is the anchor limited partner (LP) for the fund.

BAce Capital’s investment team comprises three former Alibaba and Ant Financial executives: Benny Chen, former managing director of Ant Financial India and director of strategic Alliance for India and Southeast Asia; Kshitij Karundia, former senior director of India and Southeast Asia strategic investment at Alibaba Group; and Mulyono Xu, former CIO of Lazada Indonesia and deputy director of Alibaba Group.

According to Chen, Managing Partner at BAce Capital, the VC will target Series A to B opportunities with ticket sizes ranging from $500,000 to $15 million. Indonesia and India will be its biggest focus areas, taking up about 70-80 per cent of the fund’s corpus.

BAce Capital will focus on mobile-first, consumer internet startups, since mobile penetration levels, online time spent and transactions are still low in Southeast Asia and India compared to the US and China. The level of “stickiness” for Southeast Asian internet businesses is also comparatively weaker.

“The key is – how do you tap the network effect with low-cost accessibility in a five-inch screen to create value for customers? If people have that kind of thinking, companies will be able to deliver a lot better in the long run,” said Chen. 

Last week, BAce Capital made its first investment in Bangalore-based Healofy, a pregnancy and parenting platform for Indian mothers. Healofy’s $8-million Series A round also included investments from China’s parenting social network BabyTree Group and existing investor Omidyar Network India.

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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.