Exclusive: Indonesia’s EverHaus to start raising $20m fund by year-end

Gitta Amelia, founder and general partner, EverHaus

Indonesia-focused early-stage venture capital firm EverHaus is one of the youngest VCs in Southeast Asia. Founded in November 2017, it counts Pomona, Aino and Paybill among its portfolio firms.

Bullish on sectors such as consumer goods, the venture capital firm is now planning to raise a $20-million fund by the end of this year, its founder and general partner Gitta Amelia told this portal in an interaction.

“Our investment strategy for the new fund will be very different as we strive to work with the new generation of entrepreneurs and in anticipation of the changes on the horizon. In particular, there is a huge opportunity for consumer goods with the opening of the market as a result of the developments in B2C internet technologies in Indonesia,” she said.

Edited excerpts:

What are the sectors you are focused on and why?

Currently, we are focusing on tech platforms in Indonesia. With regards to Indonesian tech, I believe that technology can add economic value through four pillars in Indonesia.

First, SME empowerment, considering SMEs make up the backbone of the economy contributing about 56 per cent of the GDP and 97 per cent of the workforce. On top of our current local unicorns, I believe that we will see new platforms rise to help and empower our SMEs.

Second, financial Inclusion, in increasing credit penetration from current 3 per cent and thus data inclusion as well of the market and population.

Third, increasing infrastructure and mobility, including travel and logistics, as it continues to a be a bottleneck for e-commerce and effective trade.

Fourth, increasing labour participation, including creating new jobs and increasing worker productivity.

Obviously, tech can add value in many ways, but these are the pillars that are inherently Indonesian and are localized to our investment geography.

We believe that Indonesia represents a vision of China eight years ago and that this year may be the last chance for anyone to invest in businesses that are online platforms and aggregators. The focus of our next fund will be different as we see the tide changing with time.

What is your typical investment size?

For pre-seed/seed investments in Indonesia, our ticket size is about $50,000- $300,000. Investment into the pre-seed stage is what typically yields high multiples very quickly. EverHaus mitigates the risk in very early stage startups by supporting the startups with our network of ecosystem partners and investors.

For Series A/Series B investments in Indonesia, the ticket size can go up to $500,000. EverHaus has unique opportunities to invest in startups that are rising and well-positioned to become very large in the next 2-3 years. We look for highly visible startups that are on the right path towards an exit. These startups will provide good support and network for our younger startups in our portfolio.

For international startup expanding in the region, the ticket size is up to $300,000. Using our networks, EverHaus is often presented with opportunities to join private placements of technology companies that have massive upside.

How does the deal pipeline look like? What are some of the sectors you are bullish on?

We are planning to invest in ten deals by the end of 2018.

Being a hands-on and on-the-ground investor lends one to have a bird’s eye view of capital flows while capturing the nuances of small data patterns at the same time. I believe that we are at the dawn of an era and entering into a new, exciting era of entrepreneurship in Indonesia.

Our investment strategy for the new fund will be very different to this year as we strive to work with the new generation of entrepreneurs and in anticipation of the changes on the horizon. In particular, there is a huge opportunity for consumer goods with the opening of the market as a result of the developments in B2C internet technologies in Indonesia.

Our new fund’s investment strategy will be structured around scaling these derivatives.

How big is your current fund? How much have you deployed? Who are your LPs?

Unfortunately, we are unable to disclose this information at this time. Our current LPs represent wealthy and powerful individuals who believe that EverHaus is the right partner for them to bridge the gap between them and the new wave of tech-focused entrepreneurs.

We have learnt that you are talking to investors about a new $20-million fund by the end of 2018. Can you elaborate?

The target amount (20 million) is correct, but this number may change. We plan to start fundraising possibly in December 2018 and finish by Q2 of 2019. For the new fund we are focused on Indonesia, but our investment strategy and the vertical focus will shift from what we are investing in before due to changes in the market. But we will also be open and expanding to investing in ASEAN soon.

How has the last one year been for you? What are your expansion plans?

EverHaus was founded in November 2017. Since then, we have met with over 200 pioneering entrepreneurs, most of them Indonesian. We have also seeded and are perpetually solidifying many key relationships with other investors and ecosystem partners this year that will strengthen our practice for years to come. It’s been a humbling learning experience to sit down and chat with a variety of seasoned men and women from all walks of life.

Key highlights this year also include us becoming the official Alibaba eFounders Advisory Partner in Indonesia. This partnership culminated in a two-week trip to Hangzhou, Alibaba’s headquarters, where we were able to learn first-hand from Jack Ma himself on the digitization of China. We look forward to maintaining close relationships.

In regards to expansion, you can definitely expect some creativity from EverHaus. We are not corporate backed and do not have any corporate agenda. We are independent and driven by our mission of creating value. We will grow beyond indonesia most definitely. We will learn a lot of other markets through our portfolio companies and grow outwards towards ASEAN with them very soon.

Do you have an investment target for the year ahead?

We have a target of making at least five more investments on top of the ones we are closing this year. We plan to do ten deals by the end of the year. In our mandate, we also plan to double down on well-performing investments.

How are you seeing the venture capital investment growth in Indonesia?

When I first started investing in tech in Indonesia, it was remotely and as an undergraduate at Wharton. At that time, the number of investors and the facilities to support entrepreneurs were very few. Over a short period of time, Indonesia has gained attention from foreign investors and capital has flowed into our leading startups and into multiple venture funds.

Unarguably, the tech venture ecosystem is now maturing. As a result, competition is also becoming intense. Nowadays, it is not enough for entrepreneurs to figure out how to disrupt conventional businesses; they must also think about how to out-disrupt the disruptors.

Of course, regulatory challenges will continue to be a blessing and a curse.

On the capital side, many VCs are becoming growth stage investors, and are raising larger and larger funds. What becomes of it is a gap at the seed stage in Indonesia. It is apparent that we are experiencing a fund creep, not only in Indonesia but also around Asia.

What is the next trend after e-commerce, ride-hailing, fintech, insurtech and crypto? 

In Indonesia, for an investor, the “next” has already passed. We invest in what comes after next.

I have a version of the future that I see dawning on us and it involves a lot of food and consumables. Obviously, all industries will grow and change, but nothing quite like this one. More capital will be laid down towards innovations in B2B and supply chain side in the west; while in ASEAN, on the consumer front.

But at the end of the day, we invest in fundamentals that never change, such as good people with good attitudes, good character, and leadership ability. Opportunities don’t make companies. Trends don’t make unicorns. People do.

What is your take on blockchain and cryptocurrency investments? 

Blockchain makes sense to me and I believe it is bigger than the Internet. I am currently exploring the use and incorporation of blockchain technology with some of our portfolio companies and hope that I can continue to explore this. I don’t believe that we have seen the full potential of this technology. I foresee that the biggest strides of innovation in Blockchain will come from Asia.

For the time being, we do not invest directly in cryptocurrency from the fund. However, I invest a small sum of my own personal money into the larger cap crypto assets to stay in the loop. Cryptocurrency as a personal investment can be a great way to learn about the space very quickly, and I see any upside return I am getting as a windfall. Crypto also makes sense to me as a use case of Blockchain technology in the finance sector. Speaking from firsthand experience, private investments can be inefficient and cryptocurrency makes crowdfunding more secure and liquid. Over time, it may even replace VCs, but I don’t think it will happen as fast as some predict.

What is your view on gender diversity at VC firms?

Gender diversity is a problem that permeates all geographies and sectors in finance. Fewer women in decision making roles naturally means that there will be fewer women entrepreneurs, and fewer innovations being made to cater to the female segments of the market as well as (possibly) less sensitivity to the implications for and externalities to women when changes are made to businesses. Fortunately, the data shows that the environment is improving for women.

Being a woman has benefitted me in many ways. For example, I do get a lot of interesting deals that cater to the female market, which at the end of the day, still represent most of the consumer power around the world.

At the end of the day, anyone can be an investor. It doesn’t take a certain gender to make decisions or calculate risk. It does, however, take a fairly unified mind – one with the sensitivity to understand the current market combined with the neuroticism to envision a future, one that does not think specially or separately of gender.

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.