Exclusive: Temasek, Cisco invest in Monk’s Hill fund for Southeast Asia

Visual from the Monk's Hill Ventures

Southeast Asia-based venture capital firm Monk’s Hill Ventures continues to rope in big name investors for its $80 million fund, as it gears up to make a slew of investments in the region.

Monk’s Hill Ventures has raised funding from Singapore state fund Temasek Holdings and American multinational technology company Cisco, DEALSTREETASIA has learnt.

This comes within a month of Monk’s Hill Ventures raising an undisclosed amount of funding from YJ Capital, the corporate venture arm of Yahoo Japan, the $24 billion-valued JV between Yahoo and Softbank

Executives aware of this development across Temasek and Cisco confirmed that these companies had come on board as LPs (limited partners) in Monk’s Hill Ventures Fund I, that is expected to close in September this year at $80 million. It is also learnt that Monk’s Hill may look to increase the size of this fund to $100 million to cater to increased demand, if more LPs were to join to in.

Monk’s Hill, that was launched last year by principals Peng T. Ong — co-founder of Match.com and founder of NASDAQ-listed Interwoven — and Kuo-Yi Lim, the former chief executive of Infocomm Investments, mostly provides Series A and B level funding to high-growth technology companies that will take advantage of the fast growing Asian markets.

It targets tech firms in this region as well as silicon valley companies that want to expand to Asia. So far, the VC firm, which has offices in Singapore and Jakarta, has invested in just four startups according to data compiled by CrunchBase.

Temasek, which recently announced that it had posted total shareholder return (TSR in Singapore dollars) of 19.2 per cent on a one-year basis, driven by strong performance of its Singapore and China portfolio, also has its own venture capital arm in Vertex. Both Temasek and Vertex invest in other VC firms. It is not known if Temasek’s investment in Monk’s Hill is direct injection of capital, or is routed through Vertex Ventures.

Last week, Temasek had announced that its net portfolio value rose to S$266 billion as of March 31 this year, when compared to S$223 billion for the corresponding period last year. The portfolio is up S$43 billion year-on-year.

While most Singapore VCs are currently raising their second funds, and some like Vickers, are raising their raising their fifth, Monk’s Hill is a relatively new player in the scene. But at a target of $80 million, that may be increased to $100 million, it is by far the highest a local VC here is raising, as part of its initial fund.

The only comparison is Singapore-headquartered private equity firm Northstar Group‘s venture capital arm NSI Ventures,that is currently raising north of $50 million towards its first fund.

Cisco, over the last couple of years has been investing in venture capital firms. As early as 2008, then in collaboration with Almaz Capital Partners, Cisco made the anchor investment in Almaz Capital Russia Fund I, LP (called ‘Almaz Capital / Cisco Fund I’), which had initially closed at $60 million. In 2012, it had announced an investment of $6 million in the venture capital fund Monashees Capital, the leading Brazilian VC focused on Internet companies and online education.

Monashees Capital is a venture capital firm focusing on early stage Internet start-ups and education, with a long-term business model tailored to the Brazilian environment.

In the same year, Cisco also said it had invested in Aavishkaar, a venture fund founded to promote development in rural and semi-urban India. The investment was into the Aavishkaar India II Company Ltd (Aavishkaar II).

Last year, Cisco Investments, the venture capital arm of Cisco, had announced an additional allocation of $40 million to fund early-stage firms in India under the ‘India Innovation theme’.

Also Read: Philippine online realty marketplace ZipMatch raises $2.5m from Monk’s Hill Ventures & 500 Startups

NSI Ventures nears final close of $50m first fund

Compare88 raises undisclosed Series A from Monk’s Hill

Ninja Van raises $2.5m Series A from Monk’s Hill

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.