Australian VC Investible closes second fund at $37m, bets big on SE Asia

Rod Bristow, CEO, Investible

Australian early-stage VC firm Investible has closed its second vehicle at A$51.6 million ($36.8 million) and plans to set aside 30% of it to invest in Asian startups, a top executive of the company told DealStreetAsia.

Investible Early Stage Fund 2, which was launched in March 2021, had announced its first close in June at A$35 million. The vehicle is more than double the size of the firm’s first fund, which had closed at A$22.5 million in late 2019 after being oversubscribed.

“The company is planning to set aside $12 million from Fund 2 to invest in Asian companies, mostly in Southeast Asia,” said Rod Bristow, CEO of Investible, in an exclusive interaction with DealStreetAsia. “Southeast Asia is a uniquely innovative market, and our focus on the region has grown continuously over the past four years.”

Investible has invested in 12 companies in Southeast Asia in the last four years.

Since its founding in 2014, it has backed 97 companies. This includes investments in Europe, Israel, and the US.

From Fund II, the firm plans to write cheques between A$500,000 and A$750,000. However, for follow-on investments — which will be 40% of the fund’s portfolio — it may invest up to A$1 million, said Bristow, who joined the firm in March when Fund 2 was launched.

The vehicle is sector agnostic, and the firm plans to invest in 50 companies from Fund II, of which 15 companies will likely be from Southeast Asia.

Investible has already made four investments from the second fund, with A$2.2 million deployed across Australia and Singapore to date. It has approved another seven investments from Fund II, most of which it expects to finalise before the end of the year, the company confirmed.

In August Investible participated in the $9.7 million seed round of Quantum Brilliance, a quantum accelerator startup. The round was led by QxBranch founders’ and Main Sequence investment consortium.

In September, Investible took part in the A$3.6 million seed round of Functionly, a cloud software package, enabling leaders to collaboratively design organisational structures. The financing was led by Black Nova Venture Capital and also included AfterWork Ventures, and Rampersand.

Also in September, Singapore-based Bluesheets, an AI-based data transformation platform, secured a $1.5 million seed funding round led by Investible.

Other firms in Investible’s portfolio include the graphic design platform Canva; Melbourne-based Programa, a software for architects and interior designers; and vehicle insurance firm UbiCar; hospitality jobs platform Barcats; and Singapore-based logistics tech platform Parcel Perform.

In October, Investible announced it is raising an A$100 million Climate Tech Fund to invest in companies that assist in reducing global emissions. The fund will invest in early-stage tech businesses mostly in Australia, with 50% capacity to participate in follow-on rounds. It will also invest up to 30% internationally.

In August, the firm announced that it will launch Greenhouse, a growth hub dedicated to enabling climate tech startups to scale, late next year, with support from the City of Sydney.

Early-stage strategy

Of the first 28 companies in Investible’s Fund I portfolio, 20 have already gone on to raise subsequent funding rounds.

Among these are Parcel Perform, backed by Softbank Asia Ventures, and the Indonesian supply chain network Eden Farm.

“Our model of building a portfolio of atleast 35 companies in each fund has proven to have the best risk-to-return profile when investing at early stage,” said Bristow, adding that Investible is well-positioned to expand as more investors recognise the opportunity in allocating to early-stage deals.

New hires in SE Asia

As it focuses more on Southeast Asia, Investible is roping in more hands in its Singapore office.

Recent additions to the team include Jacqueline Fernley as head of Club Investible — the VC firm’s global network of strategic co-investors — and Singapore-based Khairu Rejal as principal, who will support investment, dealflow, and operations in Southeast Asia.

Rejal is the co-founder of Rekanext Capital Partners, which focused on enterprise software and deep tech verticals across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

He has more than 15 years of experience in the venture capital and startup incubation space and was initially at the Nanyang Technopreneurship Center (NTC) and later at Majuven, a Singapore-based venture capital firm focused on early growth and high tech companies in biotechnology, healthcare, clean-sustainable technology, and digital-information technology.

“Khairu’s addition to our team signifies Investible’s expanding commitment to working with the best founders and companies at seed stage in South East Asia. Khairu has significant industry and market experience, which will increase our presence in South East Asia and benefit our portfolio company founders,” Bristow added.

“We are excited to work out of Singapore and Australia, two of the premier financial hubs in APAC, to source opportunities in early-stage investments across Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia,” said Khairu.

There has been an increase in global funds’ commitments to Southeast Asia. In the third quarter of 2021 six global funds with SE Asia allocations sealed final closes raising a total of $1.5 billion.

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.