Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has roped in Justin Choi, who was until recently the group head of corporate development at ride-hailing and payments unicorn Gojek, to augment its team in Singapore.
Choi joined Gojek in 2016 and led equity fundraising, mergers and acquisitions and investments, joint ventures and equity-linked partnerships at the Indonesian firm, according to his LinkedIn profile.
His tenure saw Gojek raise more than $4.5 billion across multiple investment rounds between 2017 and 2020.
Under Choi’s supervision, the company also closed over 15 deals, including acquisitions and minority investments, in sectors including mobile point of sale systems, consumer payments, payment processing, digital financial services, e-commerce, online ticketing and food delivery.
At CVC, he will be responsible for the PE firm’s technology investments across Asia. “His sole focus will be to drive TMT [technology, media and telecom] and tech investing in Asia, building upon the deep TMT sector team we already have in Europe and the US,” said Siddharth Patel, a Singapore-based partner at CVC Capital, in response to DealStreetAsia’s queries.
CVC Capital Partners is currently deploying capital from its Asia Pacific V fund, which closed in April at its hard cap of $4.5 billion.
Choi’s joining CVC Capital could represent the private equity firm taking a stronger interest in tech investments, once the domain of venture capital funds. “Technology is a significant percentage of the current pipeline,” Patel said.
Companies in CVC Capital’s Asia portfolio include India-based legal services outsourcing company UnitedLex; online retail trading platform OANDA; and, Korean accommodation booking platform Good Choice.
“Technology subsectors of interest include tech-enabled services (like UnitedLex); fintech (like OANDA); consumer/e-commerce (like Good Choice); games (like the recent European investment into Ironsource), and SME or enterprise software (like the recent European investments into WebPros),” Patel said.
CVC Capital’s investments have hitherto been in more traditional business models such as hospitals and care homes, consumer goods and retail, mainstream financial services and telecom networks.
The firm expects to invest in primary and secondary capital in growth-stage companies that have at least $50 million in net revenue, as well as larger buyouts of more mature assets, Patel added.
Other private equity firms have also been shoring up their tech-focused capabilities.
In August last year, Northstar Group hired Henky Prihatna, who was Google’s head in Indonesia, to make early-stage tech investments in the country.
Meanwhile, private equity major KKR & Co is understood to be raising at least $750 million to back tech startups under its first Asia-focused technology, telecommunications and media (TMT) fund. It is understood to have already raised over $1 billion for the fund.
Globally, Warburg Pincus has teamed up with tech industry veterans to form a new tech platform to deploy up to $1 billion in equity for deals in the sector.
Gojek loses another exec to investment community
Gojek had in June announced the departure of its former group chief technology officer (CTO) Ajay Gore.
Gore, who spent five years at Gojek, later joined venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India as an operating partner focused on the technology companies in the firm’s portfolio.
In January, DealStreetAsia reported that Dayu Dara Permata, the head of Gojek’s lifestyle division, had exited after the company decided to trim the number of services offered on GoLife due to weak performance.
The most prominent departure, however, has been Gojek co-founder and former CEO Nadiem Makarim. Last October, Makarim left Gojek to join President Joko Widodo’s cabinet as the education and culture minister, becoming Indonesia’s youngest minister at the age of 35.
Launched in 2009 by Nadiem Makarim, Kevin Aluwi and Michaelangelo Moran, Gojek has grown rapidly to become one of Indonesia’s most successful and well-recognised technology companies. The Indonesian super app today offers an array of services across ride-hailing, food delivery, financial services, logistics and online entertainment.
Investors in the firm have included both venture capital and private equity funds, as well as sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and global corporations, as DealStreetAsia’s in-depth report on the decacorn shows.
The platform achieved a major funding milestone this year, with Facebook and PayPal committing capital in a mega Series F round that reached nearly $3 billion in total. Thai lenders Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank are among its shareholders.