Editor’s take: The week that was – January 13-17

Over 450 industry executives attended the second edition of the Indonesia PE-VC Summit on Wednesday, January 15. In case you missed it, here are the top takeaways from the conference. Stories emerging from the event include Gojek’s take on the industry’s increased focus on sustainability as well as startups and investors weighing in on a local versus regional expansion strategy and the growing need for fiscal discipline among startups.

Here’s a quick recap of the other key developments that unfolded in the week that went by.

Deals corner

Malaysia’s Dahmakan is learnt to be in advanced talks with Rakuten Capital to raise funding. While Rakuten is likely to come in as the lead investor, the cloud kitchen startup is also in talks with a bouquet of other investors to raise capital to expand its operations across Asia.

Private equity (PE) firm Falcon House is looking to sell its food and beverage portfolio under the company Eatwell Culinary that operates Chinese restaurant chain Ta Wan, Japanese cuisine-based Ichiban Sushi, food court operator Eat & Eat as well as Indonesia’s Dapur Solo.

Tencent Holdings led a $45 million funding in French mobile payment platform Lydia. The deal highlights the Chinese social and gaming giant’s continued interest to actively invest in the technological innovation space across the world.

In Vietnam, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is considering a proposal to extend a $213 million debt financing package to local lender VPBank. This would mark the first green loan to a bank in Vietnam.

Shareholders of Vietnam’s TMMC Healthcare have initiated preliminary talks to sell their stake in the company. Sources told us that VinaCapital, which holds a minority stake in TMMC, and the company’s founder Dr Nguyen Huu Tung are looking to sell their stake after “a spate of healthcare deals in the region.”

Chinese test prep firm Wanxue Education has raised $100 million in fresh funding led by Asian PE firm ADV Partners. This marked the Series D round of funding for the education services provider that is looking to ramp up its operations.

From the India desk

Amazon has said it plans to invest $1 billion in India to bring the country’s small businesses online. During his recent India visit, Jeff Bezos said the e-commerce giant expects to export $10 billion worth of India-made goods by 2025. His announcement comes at a time when India’s antitrust watchdog has launched a probe into e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Flipkart.

SoftBank-backed Indian hospitality firm OYO‘s founder Ritesh Agarwal confirmed the company’s layoff plans in an internal email to employees. The company had earlier made headlines for undertaking measures to slash its workforce in two of its two most prominent markets, China and India.

In the deals space, interior design startup Livspace is set to raise $100 million in fresh funding led by new investors Kharis Capital, a European investment management firm, and Singapore’s Venturi Partners.

Fundraising updates

Private equity firm Northstar Group is seeking to raise up to $400 million for the first close of its fifth fund. On the sidelines of the recently concluded Indonesia PE-VC Summit 2020, the firm’s founder and managing partner Patrick Walujo said the PE firm expects to make the initial close in the first half of this year.

Meanwhile, Singapore-based fund management platform Gordian Capital made headlines this week for launching an environmental, social and governance (ESG) fund with Hong Kong-based GoImpact. Gordian Capital manages $3.3 billion in private equity, venture capital, real estate, private credit and hedge funds across 60 funds.

China’s Winreal Investment has reached the first close of a 5G industry fund at $146 million. The investment firm raised the corpus from investors including government-backed funds and targets to raise 2 billion yuan ($292 million) in total.

Logistics major ESR has formed a $500 million joint venture with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC to build institutional-grade logistics facilities in key cities across China.

Global alternative asset manager Falcon Edge Capital, an active growth stage investor in India, has made another close of its India-focused fund at $45.6 million. The private equity fund is learnt to have attracted nine investors since its launch 12 months ago.

Q&A

Singapore-based Venturi Partners is seeking to raise $150 million for a new consumer fund focused on India and Southeast Asia. The firm’s managing partner and former Verlinvest executive Nicholas Cator said Venturi is gearing up to target investments in the range of $20-50 million. “There are no consumer-focused funds at this stage of growth. If you look at the venture capital (VC) stage, there are a number of specialised funds,” he said, while confirming the firm’s debut investment in India’s Livspace.

Indonesia-based MDI Ventures is looking to launch two parallel funds this year. Having established a growth stage fund with South Korea’s KB Investments last year, the corporate VC arm of state-owned telco firm Telkom Indonesia is set to launch a seed-stage fund and a later stage vehicle.

Finally

Private equity fundraising in Asia slumped to $100 billion in 2019 after hitting a peak of $188 billion in 2017, according to data compiled by market research firm Preqin. In 2018, aggregate PE fundraising in the region amounted to $125 billion. PE fundraising is set to be tough in 2020 for some funds, Preqin said.

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.