GIC private equity executive leaving firm to set up own fund

A GIC signage is pictured during their results announcement in Singapore July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Anshuman Daga

A key private equity executive at Singapore’s GIC, Amit Kunal, is leaving the organisation to set up his own firm after a decade at the sovereign wealth fund.

Kunal, a managing director of private equity at GIC, leads direct investments in Southeast Asia for the wealth fund.

DealStreetAsia understands that he is expecting to raise up to $750 million for his debut fund. 

Kunal’s departure from GIC was first reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday.

According to the Bloomberg report, GIC’s vice president of private equity in Southeast Asia, Choo Koon Po, is also leaving the firm to join Kunal. The Singapore fund confirmed the two departures to Bloomberg. 

Kunal joined GIC in 2011 from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he was vice president, of investment banking, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Choo joined GIC in 2012, after a two-year stint as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. 

DealStreetAsia has reached out to GIC, Kunal and Choo.

Private equity accounted for 15% of GIC’s portfolio in the year ended March 31, 2021, up from 13% in the previous fiscal, due to “robust deal activity and strong asset performance,” the fund noted in its annual report.

Its PE universe spans buyouts, minority growth, pre-IPO funding, venture capital, private credit and special situations and secondary investments. The fund invests directly as well as through funds.

Its prominent investments in Southeast Asia include Indonesia’s e-major commerce Bukalapak, in which GIC holds an 11% stake; and Vietnamese fintech company VNLIFE.

GIC emerged as the most active state-owned investor globally in 2020 amid unprecedented disruptions to economic activity worldwide. The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute pegs its assets under management at $545 billion.

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.