SG’s Koru Partners close to raising over $50m to focus on Series A-B deals

Jakarta traffic. Photo by ekoherwantoro on Unsplash

Singapore-headquartered Koru Partners, which is seeking to close over $50 million for a new VC fund, has officially taken over the management of Lippo-backed Venturra fund, said sources privy to the development.

When contacted, Koru Partners managing partner Tee Plern Suraphongchai said that the firm is set to make an official announcement on fundraising soon but declined to divulge details pertaining to the corpus it is raising.

The VC firm, founded by former PineBridge Investments executive Tim Loh and Suraphongchai, a former Venturra Capital partner, is a multi-asset investment manager that dabbles in real asset fund management and venture capital.

While Loh focuses on multi-asset class investments, Suraphongchai manages investment opportunities in the VC space. Both of them serve as managing partners in the firm.

Koru Partners focuses on Series A and B investments across sectors such as financial inclusion, mobility service, sustainability, new media, and socially driven e-commerce, among others. Besides, it also provides investment-related advice to established companies for strategic opportunities.

Koru Partners also lists Edmund Hoh as its partner, research, and Kaspar Hidayat (a former 500 Startups and Venturra executive) as its principal, among others, on its website.

The VC firm’s current portfolio companies include fashion marketplace Zilingo, cashback reward platform ShopBack, automotive marketplace Carro, discount platform Fave, micro-financing startup FirstCircle, and online shopping aggregator and marketing research firm iPrice.

All these companies that come under the Koru umbrella had initially received investments from Venturra fund I. However, with the management transfer, they are now overseen by Koru Partners, which has a slew of executives from Venturra fund.

Interestingly, investments in Zilingo and ShopBack were led by Suraphongchai when she was a venture partner in Venturra.

It is understood that Venturra fund is no longer active as some of the key executives have moved on, said sources. However, Suraphongchai, on her part, declined to comment on the current status or the arrangement that Koru has with Venturra.

Venturra Partners still manages Venturra Discovery, the fund that focuses on seed investments, which is led by Rudy Ramawy (managing partner) and Raditya Pramana (partner).

DealStreetAsia has also reached out to Venturra but has not yet received any response.

Investors are increasingly looking to clock deals in Series A and B levels in Southeast Asia as the internet economy in the region is growing at an unprecedented pace.

According to a report jointly launched by Google, Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek, and Bain & Co last year, the internet economy in SEA had touched $100 billion by October 2019, recording a 39-per cent increase from $72 billion in 2018.

While Indonesia is considered one of the pacesetters where growth is driven by a slew of factors such as growing middle-class coupled with a rising ‘netizen’ population in the backdrop of strong domestic consumption, other countries which are in limelight are Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

In Indonesia, VC firms that focus on Series A-B investments EV Growth, a joint venture between Sinar Mas, East Ventures and Yahoo! Japan; Intudo Ventures; Indogen Capital; and Sinar Mas Digital Ventures (SMDV).

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.