Southeast Asia-focused early-stage investor Expara Ventures has shelved plans to raise a $30 million venture capital fund after deferring it previously.
The VC firm had planned to raise Expara Ventures IV to invest in its core markets of Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. Launched in 2018, fundraising for the vehicle was deferred in 2019 as Expara decided to focus on the Thai market through other ventures.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2020, appears to have sealed the decision for the firm.
“We have decided to go another way with our venture capital strategy after the pandemic, so we have shelved this project,” Expara founder and CEO Douglas Abrams told DealStreetAsia.
He refused to disclose how much the VC had managed to raise for the fund and what it planned to do with the capital.
Expara Ventures IV was set to follow Expara Asia Ventures I (EAV1), an accelerator fund that invested $10-50K in companies emerging from accelerators managed by Expara and firms it collaborated with.
Last year, Expara Ventures launched a new accelerator programme, Expara VirTech Global Accelerator, to back startups developing solutions for challenges that have emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Abrams, 281 companies from across the world applied for the programme. XpertFlow, WeavAir, Gheorg, Brain Pool Tech, Applex Bio, formerly known as Omnious, were among the 15 startups to graduate from it in 2020.
Abrams – a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, angel investor and educator who has been investing and teaching in Singapore since 2000 – founded Expara to cover the spectrum from incubation and early-stage venture capital to advisory services and online learning for entrepreneurs and investors.
The company is headquartered in Singapore and has a presence in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Poland. It has invested in over 40 firms in Southeast Asia.
It runs two incubator funds – Expara IDM Ventures and Expara IDM Ventures II – as well as Thailand-focused Expara GSB Fund as well as Extream Ventures, a joint venture fund with Upstream. Other vehicles include Expara Ventures III that was launched in 2015.
The investment firm also manages venture-funded accelerators in Vietnam and Thailand. In 2015, it partnered with Microsoft to launch the CLAS-Expara Vietnam Accelerator and collaborated with Saigon Innovation Hub (SIHUB) to launch Expara SIHUB Accelerator Express Program.
To date, Expara SIHUB has organised two editions of its accelerator that have been attended by 40 companies. About 45% of these companies have gone one to raise follow-on funding. Prominent participants include Finhay, Nami Exchange, Edu2Review, Remit Hub, Credify, SteamChain, Momby and Vulcans.