Editor’s take: The week that was – July 8-12

The DealStreetAsia logo is pictured at their annual conference in Singapore.

The region’s unicorns grabbed many a headline this week. Let’s start with Indonesian ride-hailing major GOJEK.

GOJEK has secured around $1.6 billion in commitments as part of its ongoing Series F financing and is targeting to close the round at over $3 billion, Ardi reported.

This week, the Indonesian unicorn announced unspecified investments from three companies under Japan’s Mitsubishi group and Siam Commercial Bank, Thailand’s largest lender by assets.

Meanwhile, Kristie had this story on the ongoing cost-cutting and restructuring at GOJEK-backed Bangladeshi app Pathao after its plans to close a $50-million Series B round came up short. The startup will now aim to raise a smaller amount instead.

Now on to Indonesia’s e-commerce unicorn Tokopedia, which continues to actively pick up stakes in niche startups. It is said to have closed an investment in local agritech startup Sayurbox. We have previously reported on its investments in used phone e-tailer Laku6 and wedding marketplace Bridestory.

This week, we also featured interviews with India’s OYO and Hong Kong-based unicorns GOGOVAN and Klook.

Hospitality startup OYO has set its sights on ramping up its presence in the Southeast Asian market. However, given the size and complexity of the market, this will be no easy task. Ardi sat down with CTO Anil Goel to figure how OYO will tackle SE Asia’s unique challenges, particularly on the supply side.

Travel booking platform Klook is focusing on growing its presence in the Western markets as well as deepening its footprint in Southeast Asia, co-founder and chief operating officer Eric Gnock Fah told Ka Kay in this interview.

We also spoke to GOGOVAN co-founder Steven Lam who says the unicorn tag has served both as a burden and inspiration for the company. Read on to know why he thinks so. Lam also takes us through the opportunities and challenges of operating in China, where, he says, consolidation in the logistics space is still several years away.

New fund updates  

Walden International, one of the pioneers in venture investing in China, has closed its China-focused venture capital fund at just $122.6 million, less than half of its $250-million target, Mars wrote.

The San Francisco City & County Employees’ Retirement System has committed $50 million to Hong Kong-based PAG’s third special situations fund. We had earlier reported that the private equity firm is targeting to raise up to $1 billion for its latest special situations fund.

Navegar, a Philippines-focused private equity firm, has made an initial close of its new fund at $87.1 million. The vehicle will invest in middle-market, growth-oriented companies in the country.

Singapore-based Elite Partners Capital is seeking to raise about $50 million for its debut non-realty vehicle that will invest in Norwegian growth companies.

Southeast Asian private equity firm Provident Capital Partners, which has invested in GOJEK and Pomelo, is in the process of closing its second fund at over $200 million.

Interviews & analysis

China’s nascent onshore real estate private equity market could draw more foreign investors to tap the large pools of RMB capital, ARA Asset Management’s China head Alvin Loo told Ka Kay Lum in this interview.

PM Equity Partner, the corporate venture capital arm of US-based tobacco giant Philip Morris International, is eyeing investments in Southeast Asia.

As it nears the final close of its $80-million second fund, Japanese VC firm Genesia Ventures says it is likely to deploy around 30 per cent of the corpus in Southeast Asia.

Vietnamese e-commerce startup Tiki has often been likened to Amazon and its founder Tran Ngoc Thai Son does not take the comparison lightly. In this interview with Ngoc, he talks about his startup journey that coincided with the internet boom in Vietnam back in 2010.

Hock Meng Tay, along with Micheal Boehringer & Nick Shomper, reported that venture capital firms with a focus on Southeast Asia raised a total of $1.58 billion for new vehicles in the first half of 2019. With large VC funds currently in the market, fundraising this year is set to top last year’s total of $2.12 billion.

Hock also wrote this piece on how delistings outpaced fresh offerings on the Singapore stock exchange (SGX) in the first half of 2019, suggesting that the bourse may need to focus on more than attracting new listings.

Deal news

Indonesia’s leading car-to-banking conglomerate Astra International and early-stage venture capital firm EverHaus are in talks to invest in freight and trucking marketplace Trukita, Aastha wrote in this exclusive.

Vietnamese social selling solutions startup Ecomobi is in the process of raising $4-5 million from new investors. The company is learnt to be in talks with VinaCapital Ventures and South Korea’s Naver and Line Ventures, among others, Ngoc reported.

Exit stories

Indonesia-focused Capsquare Asia Partners is looking to exit its six-year-old investment in traditional herb producer Air Mancur Group. The PE firm has roped in DBS Bank to facilitate the transaction, Deviana Chuo reported.

Indonesia-listed telecom tower company Solusi Tunas Pratama continues to be on the block as one of its PE shareholders is still seeking an exit. STP is backed by US-based PE firm Carlyle and Singapore-based Southern Capital, who together own 68.7%.

Indonesia-based telecom company Indosat Ooredoo has initiated talks to sell 3,000 telecom towers. JP Morgan is acting as the sell-side advisor.

I leave you with this last pick of the week from the Nikkei Asian Review on Myanmar’s proposal to allow foreign individuals and companies to invest in the fledgeling Yangon Stock Exchange, a move that may breathe some life into an otherwise dormant bourse.