Singapore-based early-stage investor Cento Ventures is in the market for two sector-focused funds that will invest in fashion and real estate startups in Southeast Asia.
The venture capital firm has recently begun fundraising for the real estate fund that seeks to raise $40-50 million, said Cento general partner Dmitry Levit.
The fashion-focused fund is being raised by Start Today Ventures (STV), which is backed by Japan’s Start Today and Cento. The fund held a first close in early 2018 and could raise between $30 million and $50 million. The VC firm expects to close both funds by the end of 2019.
Cento’s limited partners (LPs) are mainly large strategics and corporates from South Korea and Japan. Its investors also include family offices and high net-worth individuals (HNWI) from emerging markets and around the world.
Founded in 2011, Cento Ventures primarily invests in Series A consumer tech startups in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. According to its website, the VC has $40 million of assets under management. Its portfolio of companies includes Jirnexu, iPrice, CodaPay and Kalibrr.
STV was launched in 2017 and has previously backed Southeast Asian fashion startup Pomelo. Its backer, Start Today, operates Japan’s largest e-commerce platform, Zozotown, and is run by the eccentric billionaire (and would-be space tourist) Yusaku Maezawa.
Cento has made seven full and partial exits so far including: 2C2P, a regional payment services provider; Cùng Mua, a Vietnamese e-commerce group; and Food Runner, an online food ordering and delivery company that was acquired by FoodPanda.
Apart from Cento Ventures, a number of VCs have also recently launched their own sector-focused funds in a region-wide hunt for value. Tin Men Capital, which is raising a $100-million fund, is targeting B2B tech opportunities, while HealthXCapital, which is on the road to raise $25 million, is taking aim at digital health, diagnostics, devices and artificial intelligence startups. The move towards more “niche” funds generally indicates a maturing VC/fundraising ecosystem in Southeast Asia.