Indonesia’s Sinarmas-backed SMDV to target later-stage investments with new fund

Roderick Purwana, Sinarmas.

Indonesian VC firm SMDV, an affiliate of diversified conglomerate Sinarmas Group, is targeting later-stage investments as it prepares to put together a second fund in the early part of this year.

In an interaction with DealStreetAsia, SMDV managing partner Roderick Purwana said the fund will be “sizable enough to do larger deals, for Series B or beyond,” while declining to disclose the vehicle size. The size of the predecessor vehicle also remains undisclosed.

The SMDV fund will be raised from Sinarmas family offices. At present, SMDV is not looking at raising capital from external investors.

SMDV, which is part of the Sinarmas Group, follows a semi-independent fund structure where the focus is on financial returns, unlike a corporate VC arm that is more aligned to the strategic interests of the parent company.

In an earlier interview, Purwana had explained, “We are not exactly a corporate VC. We are flexible in our investment and focus on areas where there are financial gains to be made.”

The new vehicle is seeking stage-agnostic opportunities with a bias towards more mature companies in Indonesia.

“We can see the path to profitability in the later-stage more clearly. We are also more suitable for the risk profile as these startups are close to sustainability,” Purwana told DealStreetAsia.

SMDV has so far invested in 20 startups, predominantly at the early stage. It has largely invested in Indonesian companies and has backed some regional and global startups as well. Some of its overseas bets include Bangkok-headquartered payment platform Omise, Singapore’s payment and cash management Wallex and  US-based mobile deep learning Element, among others.

In 2020, SMDV has mostly focused on stepping up investments in its existing portfolio firms. “In 2020, we were cautious about adding many new investments. We preferred to help [existing] founders through the crisis. This year, we see some will recover and so we might look at new investments in the second half [of the year],” he said.

Expand Table

SMDV's portfolio companies

 StartupsDescriptionInvestment stageLead InvestorInvest since
1Elementdevelops and distributes mobile-based platforms for
digital identity.
seedNo2014
2TADASaaS, customer retention platformSeries ANo2015
3OmiseBangkok-headquartered online payments platform
that enables businesses to seamlessly and
securely accept payments over the internet.
Series A-BYes for Series A2015
4Happyfreshonline grocery platformSeries A-B-CNo2015, 2016, 2019
5Snapchartbig data analytics seedNo2016
6Oramifemale-focused shopping platformseries AYes for Series A2016
7CoHivecoworking spaceSeedNo2017
8Sorabelfashion ecommerceSeries BNo2017
9Warung Pintar a micro retail technology company.Seed-A No2018, 2019
10Waresixa logistics platform for freight-forwarding,
warehouse, and land transportation
Seed-Series ANo2018, 2019
11EkoLondon & Bangkok based company focused on
building tools that unlock the full potential
of mobile in the workplace.
Series BYes 2018
12Fore Coffeecoffee chain shopSeries ANo2019
13Wahyooa technology company that provides
added value and benefits for stalls in Indonesia.
seedNo2019
14Kedai Sayura company that serves orders through the delivery of various types of kitchen needs ranging from Vegetables.seedNo2019
15ArunaIntegrated fishery platformseedYes2019
16StickEarnconnects consumer drivers and brands looking for exposure effectively with their modern approach.Series AYes2019
17YummyCorpa cloud kitchen management and online catering company that operates a network of delivery-only kitchens.Series A Yes2019
18Waste4Changewaste management solution-No2019
19Hactiv8coding boot camp in Indonesia that turns absolute beginners into job-ready developers.seedNo2020
20Ula a marketplace platform that focusses on modernizing
distribution and credit processes in the traditional retail sector.
seedNo2020
21WallexSingapore's International payments and cash management
for businesses - simplified
Series AYes2020
Source: Crunchbase

While SMDV is sector-agnostic, it has closely followed emerging themes such as e-commerce, grocery, logistics, payments, and edtech.

In 2018, SMDV tied up with East Ventures and Yahoo! Japan Capital to establish EV Growth to focus solely on growth-stage investments. EV Growth currently has 19 companies in its portfolio across the Southeast Asian market. EV Growth is also poised to launch its second fund this year seeking to raise $250 million, similar to its predecessor.

Purwana said SMDV’s shift in investment focus will not result in it competing with EV Growth as it is looking at co-investment opportunities with the latter.

“SMDV’s strategy is also to co-invest with others. Hence, we will complement EV Growth in the investments,” he said.

SMDV and EV Growth have together invested in micro-retail tech firm Warung Pintar and logistics platform Waresix. Through EV Growth, SMDV also invested in travel unicorn Traveloka, beauty e-commerce Sociolla, and edtech platform Ruangguru.

Expand Table

EV Growth's portfolio companies

 NameDescriptionInvestment in stageLead investorYear
1OmiseBangkok-headquartered online payments platform
that enables businesses to seamlessly and
securely accept payments over the internet.
Series BNo 2016
2SociollaIndonesia's beauty e-commerce platformSeries C, Series DYes2018, 2019
3CoHiveIndonesia's coworking spaceSeries ANo 2018
4MokaPoint of sales (POS) -- Gojek has acquiredSeries BYes2018
5TokopediaIndonesia's marketplace platformSeries GNo 2018
6IDN MediaIndonesia's media platformSeries CYes2019
7Warung PintarIndonesia's micro retail technology company.Series ANo 2019
8ShopBackSingapore's digital loyalty and discovery platform
e-commerce company offering a smarter way to shop.
Series BNo 2019, 2020
9TravelokaIndonesia's online travel aggregratorPrivate equity &
Venture round
No 2019, 2020
10LimakiloIndonesia's agritech startupSeries BNo 2019
11KoinWorksIndonesia's fintech P2P platformSeries BYes2019
12WaresixIndonesia's logistics platform for freight-forwarding, warehouse,
and land transportation.
Series A, Series BYes2019, 2020
1399.coSingapore's property marketplace platformSeries BNo 2019
14Fuse ProIndonesia's Insurtech platformSeries A2019
15SendoVietnamese e-commerce retailer and online commerce platformSeries CNo 2019
16MekariIndonesia's SaaS company for productivity supportSeries CYes2019
17RuangguruIndonesia's edtech platformSeries CNo 2019
18HomageSingapore's trusted senior home care marketplace Series BYes
19BibitIndonesia's fintech focused on wealth investmentSeries ANo2021
Source : Crunchbase

SMDV’s tech investment style

Sinarmas-backed SMDV prefers to follow a passive-style investment approach picking minority interests in startups.

“We think startups need to prove they can sustain financially. Then, we might consider a strategic approach. Otherwise, if we acquire the company and it does not survive, it will be fruitless for us,” Purwana said, about the investment style.

Sinarmas Group’s business interests span agribusiness, pulp and paper, telecom services, finance and banking, mining and energy, property, and other services. According to Forbes 2020, the Widjaja family’s total assets were estimated at around $11.9 billion.

Purwana foresees some integration between the group’s mainstream business units and the tech startup investments particularly in the areas of imaging technology or drones for the agribusiness sector, beauty e-commerce for the paper business [packaging], among others.

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.