US venture capital firm Fenox Venture Capital – with $1.5 billion assets under management – is putting more weight into Southeast Asia by revving up its investments in this region given the rising opportunities presented by an under-developed infrastructure, a senior executive at the firm told DEALSTREETASIA.
The Silicon Valley VC, which has emerged as one of the most active investors in Asia, has so far made over 60 investments across different sectors in this region.
“We will continuously ramp up our investment activities in Asia. We have been doing that since February. With the addition of GnB Accelerator, we will be very well embedded here in the local regional ecosystem,” Jeff Quigley, SE Asia regional manager, Fenox Venture Capital, told DEALSTREETASIA on the sidelines of this portal’s flagship conference, ASIA Private Equity-Venture Capital Summit 2016 held in Singapore recently.
Some of Fenox VC’s most recent investments include Malaysian e-commerce startup Belazee, Indonesia’s HR platform Talenta, Islamic fashion e-commerce site HijUp and Jojonomic.
“There are obviously a lot of opportunities,” said Quigley, attributing his investment thesis to the nascent infrastructure in the region.
Things like that “will not change overnight by any means,” he opined. There is a lot potential given the under-developed urban transport infrastructure, lack of financial services reach and disparity in education, he added.
Indonesia has emerged as a strong investment focus for Fenox, which has successfully concluded its first batch of GnB Accelerator dominated by on-demand service providers.
The reasons behind that (Indonesia’s) attractiveness, according to Quigley, are the vast addressable market opportunities in Indonesia.
“Generally speaking, we are investing in everything that looks promising and has a large enough market,” said Quigley.
The VC firm, which has invested in several robotic, artificial intelligence and virtual/augmented reality startups, is also exploring such opportunities in SEA. However, compared to more mature markets like the US and Japan, the region is not yet ready for investments in this area.
“I think it’s an issue of talent and I am not sure the market is mature enough to be attracting talent that is working on those next generation technologies,” said Quigley.
GnB Accelerator completed the first boot camp in Jakarta with six incubated startups, service finding solution Ahlijasa, private meeting space provider Xwork, home supply service Klikdaily, marketing platform Localbrand Asia, car sharing service HipCar and portal for doctor 4 Doctor.
Even as the programme is headquartered in Indonesia, and Quigley indicates replication of the accelerator model to other countries, it is open to all startups in SE Asia.