Golden Equator, Korea Investment Partners launch $87m joint fund

Shirley Crystal Chua, founder and Group CEO, Golden Equator

Singapore’s Golden Equator Capital (GEC) has partnered with Korea Investment Partners to launch an S$120-million ($87-million) venture fund to make Series A and B investments in high-growth technology companies in Southeast Asia.

The joint fund will replace GEC’s own tech and innovation fund II, for which it had been seeking up to S$100 million, the venture capital firm’s founder and Group CEO Shirley Crystal Chua told this portal.

This marks the second instance of a Korean firm partnering a VC in Southeast Asia to launch a dedicated vehicle targetting startups in this region, that is home to over 600 million people.

The Co-GP fund has already received 65 per cent commitments, and is targeting a first close in August with a final close by the year-end, she said. “About 80-90 per cent of this fund will be taken up by institutional investors. We believe that we can raise more than the planned S$120 million,” Chua added.

In a report last year, Google and Temasek projected that Southeast Asia’s internet economy would be worth US$200 billion by 2025. The report also added that internet-based business, which accounted for only 2 percent of the region’s GDP in 2017, was slated to reach 6 percent by 2025.

South Korean VC InterVest Co. is partnering Indonesia’s Kejora Ventures to raise a $100 million fund that is expected to hit the final close soon. This vehicle – InterVest Star Southeast Asia Growth Fund I – is set to do Series B rounds and upwards in Southeast Asia, both VCs said last year.

At present, both GEC and KIP have a common investment in Indonesian e-commerce startup Sale Stock in Southeast Asia. Both firms were part of the company’s US$27 million Series B round. That financing round was led Gobi Partners and Golden Equator, and the other investors who participated included, Alpha JWC Ventures, Convergence Ventures, GEC, KIP, MNC, and SMDV.

The Co-GP vehicle will look at ticket sizes between S$2-5 million with follow-on potential. “If we raise more than S$120 million then we can do larger later stage deals,” Chua said.

While the fund will be sector-agnostic, it will focus on startups in the finance/fintech space, marketplaces, enterprise solutions, e-commerce-related companies and those with a strong interest in AI, she added.

GEC, which currently has three vehicles – a currency hedge fund, a property development fund and the technology and innovation fund-1, had been looking to raise a follow-on second technology fund.

“This fund came about because of our relationship with Korea. Last year, we signed a MoU with Korea’s C&R Healthcare, appointed by the City of Seoul BioHub and Korean Health Industry Development Institution, to create the Korea-Singapore Healthcare Incubator. Earlier this year, we brought 15 Korean healthcare-related companies for pitch sessions in Singapore. In March, we signed an MoU with Korean university GIST to help with the development of an artificial intelligence cluster town in Gwangju,” Chua added.

KIP, which currently manages 41 funds with AUM of US$2 billion, will route its investments in Southeast Asia via the new vehicle, Chua said, while adding that part of this fund will also be set aside to invest in Korean companies who are looking to make overseas investments.

GEC will migrate the investments it has made from its technology and innovation fund-II to the Co-GP vehicle.

Chua further said that GEC was looking to launch two other vehicles in September and October respectively that would look into special projects.

“These will be for two single projects, where one will be in the range of S$40 million to $50 million, and the other will be S$250-300 million. We are in the fund establishment stage for these projects. We are also planning to launch a crypto fund this year,” she said.

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.