DSA Summit Exclusive: Singapore’s Vulpes to raise 2nd Myanmar fund of $25m

Photo: Juliet Shwe Gaung. The City Hall of Yangon.

Singapore-based investment firm Vulpes Investment Management Pte Ltd is planning to raise a $25-million Myanmar-focused fund to invest in tech and non-tech companies in the frontier market.

The fund raising process for the second fund – Vulpes Innovative Myanmar Investment Company (VIMIC) focused solely on Myanmar – is expected to start next month.

The fund will continue to focus on “early stage ventures and also be investing in growing companies in Myanmar that aren’t in the early stage tech space,” said Field Pickering, director of VIMIC Limited.

Vulpes was formerly known as Artradis Fund Management co-founded in 2001 by Stephen Diggle and was once Singapore’s biggest hedge fund with assets of about $4.5 billion. In 2011, Artradis changed its name to Vulpes and, since then, it has been investing in emerging markets. One of their funds is named as Vulpes Russia opportunities fund.

While their first Myanmar-focused fund’s ticket size for the investee companies was up to $250,000 for each, their second fund is aiming at a ticket size between $1 million and $5 million in each company.

“If we can effectively deploy that capital in those sizes in good companies, our ability to raise more money for Myanmar will be greatly enhanced,” said Pickering, during an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA on the sidelines of the Asia PE-VC Summit 2017.

Vulpes is among a few Myanmar-focused funds looking to expand their presence in the country. The fund will be looking into companies in sectors such as agriculture, logistics, telecom and other early stage tech companies that are operating in Myanmar but incorporated in Singapore, said Pickering.

Investor base of the previous Myanmar-focused fund spreads across countries like New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and U.S. who are interested in Myanmar.

“We’ll go out and speak to family offices, high net worth individuals, who are interested to understand the Myanmar story and want to take an 8 to 10 year view on the country,” he said.

Pickering said he is “encouraged” to find investible companies in Myanmar. “The interesting thing about Myanmar is there’s quite a bit of wealth there. But some of the conglomerates are less interested or risk tolerant in putting money into early stage startups,” he said. As Vulpes moves beyond early stage, it will face competition from local funds.

With the local startup ecosystem maturing, larger companies including banks are starting to take interest in making venture investments.

 VIMIC’s first fund

Since April this year to the end of Summer, Vulpes started small by raising a low seven-digit figure and managed to invest in three Myanmar start-ups.

Pickering said, they “far exceeded the original expectations” on the Myanmar market in terms of reaching a targeted fundraising amount as well as finding good early stage companies to invest in.

They were able to secure five investors including those from overseas and deployed capital in Chate Sat, an online platform connecting businesses and freelancers, Kargo, a logistics startup and Bindez, a Yangon-based a search engine and discovery platform.

Vulpes’ has been present in Myanmar since 2012 and is a financial sponsor of Myanmar Business Intelligence, a consulting service.

 Also Read:

Vulpes to close Myanmar focused VC fund by July, to invest in tech, startups

Vulpes Investment backs Myanmar search tech firm Bindez

Myanmar: Local startups Chate Sat, White Merak bag six-digit funding