Exclusive: First close for Expara’s S$30m fund

Visual from the company website

Singapore-based venture capital (VC) firm Expara Ventures, which invests in interactive and digital media startups in the city-state, Malaysia and Thailand, has held the first close of its second fund, on S$5 million, DEALSTREEASIA has learnt.

It is understood the vehicle has received commitments for a large part of its S$30 million target, according to an executive directly aware of the development, and is thereby looking at a final close soon.

As the VC firm has held its first close, it can now begin making investments from this fund. Called the ‘Regional Early Stage Fund’, it will invest upwards of S$500,000 in startups looking at raising seed and Series A funding. Average ticket sizes under this fund will be nearly twice the existing limit of S$255,000 ($183,585).

Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: Expara to raise new $21.6m fund

In layman’s terms, ‘first close’ means the fund has reached a certain threshold in terms of the amount raised and it can begin making investments and close deals, even as new Limited Partners (LPs) can continue to join it. A final close implies reaching the second threshold, with no LPs able to join after this point.

Unlike its earlier fund, which had seen the participation from the Singapore government, the firm is now looking to raise the entire amount of the second fund from private investors. (With its earlier fund, the Singapore government matched Expara’s investment into the startup on a one-to-one basis, which was part of a strategy to support VC firms investing in Singapore-based startups under the government’s early stage Early Stage Venture Fund (ESVF) scheme.

Expara is the first among a slew of Singapore-based VCs, to have held the first close of their second funds. Jungle and Innosight Ventures are raising their second funds, with targets of $50 million and $100 million respectively.

Some notable firms in Expara’s portfolio are Singapore-based property crowdfunding platform CoAssets, which recently listed on Australia’s National Stock Exchange (NSSX). Another is social software business venture Wildfire, which launched in 2009 and subsequently rebranded as ActSocial in September 2014, with aggregate funding of $3 million.

Also Read: Jungle Ventures ropes in Ratan Tata in advisory role, ahead of launching second fund

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