Gobi Partners aims for second close of ASEAN Growth Fund at $100m by 2017-end

Kay Mok Ku, partner, Gobi Partners.

Shanghai-based venture capital firm Gobi Partners aims to make a second close of its Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund at $100 million by the end of 2017.

Investors backing the fund include institutional investors, global and local corporates, said Kay Mok Ku, partner at the VC firm.

Aiming to raise a total of $200 million, the fund will concentrate on cloud services, e-commerce, fintech and Muslim-focused tech (also known as Taqwa tech). It will build a portfolio of 15 companies or more, with investment ticket sizes ranging from $5 million to $20 million per transaction.

Gobi Partners made a first close of the fund at $50 million (RM214.74 million) in August this year backed by limited partners Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP), Korean home shopping company GS Shop and Indonesia-based investment firm CKM.

In August, Gobi Partners and Singapore-headquartered Golden Equator co-led a $27 million Series B+ in SaleStock, an Indonesian fashion e-commerce platform, marking the first investment from the ASEAN Growth Fund.

Ku said Gobi will soon announce more investments from the growth fund. “Our area of interest is still the consumer story and it is vibrant outside of Indonesia too. Indonesia is definitely one of the top markets but some of the new deals you will be hearing will be the secondary markets in SEA,” he added.

During an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA on the sidelines of the Asia PE-VC Summit 2017, Ku said Southeast Asia is in a state of “a make or break period” where companies that have passed the early stage fundraising period are now facing a lack of funding for their growth stage.

“I think anybody who can fill the gap will be in a very strong position because you will be cherry picking the best growth stage deals in Southeast Asia. This was something happening in China 10 years ago and now we see it being repeated in Southeast Asia,” said Ku.

Looking into different markets in Southeast Asia, outside Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, a lot of deals are poised to evolve in countries like Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam, which are the next tier markets with a sizeable consumer base. For countries such as Myanmar, Ku says it is in a pre-consumer market stage, where it needs infrastructure development.

Having partners like Malaysia’s MAVCAP and CKM from Indonesia could help Gobi build a footprint in these markets.

Gobi Partners has made up to over 80 investments in 64 countries and mainly focuses on early stage venture investments, mostly seed, Series A and B.

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Singapore: Gobi Partners makes first close of ASEAN Growth Fund at $50m

Gobi Partners, Golden Equator lead $27m round in Indonesian startup SaleStock