Los Angeles-based Fika Ventures has launched a $41 million seed-stage fund for US-based tech startups in enterprise software, fintech, marketplaces and digital health backed by Singapore conglomerates and entrepreneurs.
Limited partners (LPs) of the fund include Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), PhillipCapital, a listed property developer, CTW chief executive Loi Pok Yen, as well as US-based Cross Creek Advisors and Knollwood Investment Advisory.
According to The Business Times, at 33, Zhuo Tianxiang, a Singaporean of Chinese ethnicity, is said to be the youngest Singaporean venture capital (VC) fund manager. He is also among the first Singaporeans to have launched a US-based venture fund. Zhuo previously co-founded Karlin Ventures. Other general partners in the fund are Eva Ho and Arteen Arabshahi.
In a Medium post, Fika Ventures explained: “While seed funds seem to be multiplying like bunnies, we believe our mix of experience coupled with our far-sighted perspective bring unique value and advantages to entrepreneurs. The three of us (Eva, TX, and Arteen) are all operators who’ve built early-stage venture funds from scratch despite having opportunities to join larger franchises.”
“We share the primary motivation of wanting to walk alongside great entrepreneurs in their quest to create something extraordinary. But it’s really our differences, our unique paths, and our stories that make this partnership special,” the fund adds.
In an exchange with The Business Times, Zhuo commented: “We believe a large proportion of tech innovations will still come from the US. Venture capital is also an underserved asset class in LA, with less than US$1 billion in assets under management, so the talent-to-capital ratio there is very skewed. We are primarily focused on seed-stage companies because we want to be the first institutional check-in, where we will lead funding rounds and back founders – often before others recognise and understand their vision and potential.”
Zhuo said: “I’m excited that I can play a small role in helping Singapore companies access some of the best technologies in the US, and bring back that DNA and innovation mentality to help them become global tech leaders.”
It seems that Fika will be following an investment theme that will see lead significant seed rounds that target ~10 per cent in equity and 5 per cent for co-investmnets. Their investment thesis will see them “reserving a significant amount of capital for follow-ons”.