Singapore-headquartered early-stage venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures has opened its Malaysia office in Kuala Lumpur, it said in a statement on Friday.
According to its managing partner Vinnie Lauria, the VC firm plans to commit about $18 million of its recently closed $100-million Fund III to back Malaysia-based startups. It has previously invested about a quarter of its $60-million Fund II – closed in 2016 – into Malaysian startups.
The Kuala Lumpur office is the firm’s third, after Singapore and Indonesia.
Golden Gate Ventures hit the final close of its third fund at $100 million in mid-September. The fund was oversubscribed and anchored by existing LPs, including Temasek Holdings, South Korea’s Hanwha, Naver Corp and EE Capital. New LPs included Japanese entrepreneur Taizo Son’s Mistletoe and Korea Venture Investment Corp.
In a phone interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, Lauria said the VC firm will be spending more time and capital in the Malaysian market after the opening of the Kuala Lumpur office.
“Malaysian companies are doing very well, which is why we’re looking into it so closely. If you look at some of the stronger regional startups, they have Malaysian founders and have moved out [from Malaysia] but when I look at Malaysia in terms of the size, it’s a country that is very different than Indonesia.
“In Jakarta, the companies have to be in-country-focused for many years before you think about moving out. But Malaysia is similar to Singapore, where the founders are thinking going beyond Malaysia from day 1 – so the DNA of entrepreneurs in Malaysia is very different from the ones in say Vietnam, Thailand or Indonesia,” he said.
Golden Gate Ventures partner Justin Hall said that Malaysia’s diverse mix of ethnic and cultural influences as well the country’s consistently growing economy makes it a microcosm of the greater Southeast Asian economy.
“With the diversity of its people, culture and economy; Malaysia is truly Asia, and that makes it the perfect platform for businesses to expand across ASEAN, as the products and services created for this market can take advantage of the country’s built-in potential for scalability,” he added.
Founded in 2011, Golden Gate Ventures has built a portfolio comprising about 40 companies in over seven Asian countries in the consumer internet space. In Malaysia, it has backed e-commerce startup GoQuo and on-demand home services platform ServisHero.
Some of the firm’s exits so far include Singapore’s grocery startup Redmart, Taiwan’s Woomoo, Indonesia-based fintech startup Mapan (formerly known as Ruma), carpooling startup TemanJalan and Thailand’s dating app Noonswoon.
One of its portfolio companies, Singapore’s home-based care-giving startup Homage, told DEALSTREETASIA that it is expanding to Kuala Lumpur in early 2019. The firm, which raised a $4.15-million Series A round in July, provides licensed practitioners with a platform to offer on-demand services for the elderly.
Homage CEO Gillian Tee said the startup plans to have 1,000 caregivers on its platform by the end of 2018. It is also seeking to enter new markets such as Australia, Thailand and Indonesia in the near future.
Edited excerpts of an interview with Vinny Lauria: