Exclusive: Expara mulls new fund, hikes EV-III vehicle size to $21.5m

Southeast Asia-focussed early-stage venture investor Expara is looking to launch a new fund in 2017, a top executive with the firm told DEALSTREETASIA.

Douglas Abrams, Expara’s managing director, said, the firm was in discussions about establishing the fund, without giving further details.

“If we do launch a new fund, it will be invested in parallel with Expara Ventures III,” he added. Expara Ventures III (EV-III) was launched in 2015 and is actively investing.

Abrams revealed that EV-III had a corpus of S$5 million and had closed 21 investments. However, the fund is still open for investment up to S$30 million ($21.5 million).

EV-III has an active investment period of five years, making seed stage (S$250,000 average) and acceleration investments (S$15,000 average). Seed stage funding accounts for about half of its investments.

“EV-III makes financial investments while our acceleration programmes are separate from EV-III and are financed by Expara operating companies in Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. EV-III does participate in investments into the startups in our accelerator programmes. As Expara operates both a venture fund and accelerator programs, we are able to provide our startups with both investment and mentorship,” said Abrams.

Expara, in partnership with Microsoft, opened the first venture-funded accelerator in Vietnam in 2015, the CLAS – Expara Vietnam Accelerator. It has completed the second batch with eight graduating startups, four of which received a grant of $10,000 each from EV-III.

The teams are agritech startup Agrhub, communications platform AZStack, global multi-platform media company Emily Labs and software provider Wedidit Solutions.

AZStack has also been invested by Captii Ventures, while some others are progressing with venture capital fundraising. Book reading app Checkit is raising $300,000 with commitments from two investors. Wiads, a wifi marketing company, is expanding to north Vietnam as well as nine provinces across the country. They have signed partnership agreement with CMC Telecom for cross-selling products, and are expecting to close investments within next month.

Following the success of the first acceleration programme in Vietnam, Expara will be launching a new accelerator in 2017 in partnership with RMIT Vietnam. The accelerator will leverage the partners’ expertise in tertiary education and entrepreneurship mentoring to help grow successful startups in the country.

Also read:

Vietnamese influencer platform Hiip raises funding from Expara, others

Exclusive: Expara Vietnam Accelerator to come in as first investor in graduating startups