Exclusive: Russian VC Life.SREDA moving HQ to Singapore, targets $100m second fund

Russia’s economic slump is set to boost the fledgling financial services technology (Fintech) startup ecosystem in Singapore and South East Asia.

Moscow-based venture capital firm Life.SREDA, that focuses exclusively on investments in Fintech mobile and internet projects, is pivoting to Asia, and moving its corporate headquarters to Singapore, executives aware of the developments told DEALSTREETASIA.

Global investment in financial technology ventures has more than tripled during the last five years – from under $930 million in 2008 to more than $2.97 billion in 2013, and will reach $8 billion by 2018, according to Accenture, a consulting firm. But a significant majority of these investments – as high as 83% – were cornered by US-based fintech companies, data compiled by Accenture, till 2013, reveal.

Life.SREDA is doing more than just taking up an office space in the city state. Several Russia based startups the venture capital firm has invested in, are also set relocate to Singapore.

Singapore will also be the base for SREDA to close its second fund.

Executives aware of the developments said the VC firm was currently raising its second vehicle – Life.SREDA II – with a target of up to $100 million, as it seeks to tap opportunities in technology-enabled financial services space in the region.

It has already begun making investments from its second vehicle. Life.SREDA II has invested an undisclosed amount in SumUp, an European clone of Square, and has also funded mobile bank Rocketbank. SumUp’s other investors include Groupon  and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA.

DEALSTREETASIA recently reported that Russia’s largest mPOS (mobile points of sale) service, LifePay, had entered the Southeast Asian market with its acquisition of iboxPro, which operates in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

This deal, whose size is rumoured to be around $10 million, was funded by Life.SREDA. LifePay is among the most successful investments in the venture firm’s portfolio.

While ibox was a brand created by international group of companies, with head office in Hong Kong, the deal will see the new entity –  LifePay Global – becoming a Singapore-based company whose services will be available in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Russia. The combined entity has set itself a target of processing $40 million worth of transactions per month by the end of the year, a tenfold increase from its current $4 million, and also expand operations to China and the Philippines.

At present, Life.SREDA has invested all of the $40 million it had raised in its first fund across 15 different startups, and had also made some exits.

For instance, it had participated in US-based mobile bank Simple’s fund raising round around eighteen months ago, and had exited the venture last year when it was acquired by Spanish banking group BBVA for $117M. This had resulted in a ‘180% annualized profit” for Life.Sreda’, the company said.

The VC firm has also been investing in major  fintech conferences such as Finovate, and has also been releasing comprehensive research reports on the sector to enhance its brand.

 

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net

 

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.