Lightspeed Venture Partners launches in SEA, eyes seed to Series B deals

Lightspeed SEA team

Lightspeed Venture Partners is officially open for business in Southeast Asia.

The Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm announced on Thursday, the opening of its first regional office in Singapore — a move first reported by DealStreetAsia in February. Since then, it has made key appointments including two partners, Akshay Bhushan and Bejul Somaia, who will spearhead its expansion with a focus on Indonesia and Singapore.

Its four-member-strong senior team, which includes Akshay Bhushan, Bejul Somaia, Pinn Lawjindakul and Marsha Sugana, comes from diverse operational and investment backgrounds in Bain & Co, Flipkart, Grab, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Lightspeed India and others.

Lightspeed has already begun deploying in Southeast Asia.

It first had a taste of the region via a $2 billion round in ride-hailing giant Grab, in which it participated alongside OppenheimerFunds, Ping An Capital, and Toyota in August 2018. It has so far accumulated a portfolio of five startups—Grab, Chilibeli, Ula, Shipper, and NextBillion. The latter four were added this year alone.

Bhushan declined to share Lightspeed’s deployment targets, but said that he expects the firm to do more Southeast Asian deals in coming months. It targets seed to Series B stage companies in commerce, fintech, edtech, SaaS and other sectors with ticket sizes between $500,000 and $20 million.

He added that Lightspeed does not have plans to raise a Southeast Asian-focused fund yet, but will continue deploying from its $890 million Lightspeed Venture Partners XIII (US fund) and $275 million Lightspeed India Partners III (India fund).

“Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and startup ecosystems, and this is due to, in no small part, the region’s extraordinary entrepreneurial talent. We believe the startup ecosystem will continue its significant expansion,” said Bhushan.

Lightspeed recently rounded up some major fundraisings. In April, it announced the closing of three funds– Lightspeed Venture Partners XIII ($890 million), Lightspeed Venture Partners Select IV ($1.83 billion), and Lightspeed Opportunity Fund ($1.5 billion). Last month, Lightspeed India secured $275 million in commitments for Lightspeed India Partners III.

The global venture firm actively invests across the US, India, and China, and has helped many startups scale into multi-billion-dollar companies. Some of these include Snap and Nutanix (US), Pinduoduo and Man Bang Group (China), OYO Rooms, Udaan, and Byju’s (India). Its past exits from Asia include China’s Meituan and Pinduoduo.

Lightspeed joins the likes of Vulcan Capital and MassMutual Ventures, both US-based venture firms that set up Southeast Asian offices in Singapore in the last year.

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.