US-based MassMutual Ventures (MMV) has announced its debut Southeast Asia fund with a target corpus of $50 million, along with the opening of its first regional office in Singapore.
The proposed Southeast Asia fund will focus on Series A and B investments in digital health, fintech, insurtech and enterprise software, an MMV statement said.
MassMutual Ventures is the corporate venture arm of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. In addition to the new Southeast Asia fund, it manages a $200-million Boston based fund that invests in North America, Europe and Israel.
“We think the time is right because there have been a lot of new companies coming up across the region over the last five to seven years, and new capital coming into the region. More importantly, the rise of technology [adoption] and middle class across SEA brings new opportunities for us,” said MassMutual Ventures managing director Doug Russell.
With the new fund, the venture capital firm will seek to back 10-15 startups over the next three years, with average ticket sizes of $2-5 million. It is also open to co-investments with regional VCs as well as regional technology majors such as Grab, Go-Jek and Ping An.
MassMutual Ventures SEA will be co-led by managing directors Ryan Collins and Anvesh Ramineni, who will be both based in Singapore.
Prior to joining MMV SEA, Collins was the Asia head at Manulife’s LOFT incubator, researching and developing new business models and technologies in insurance and investment services. Ramineni was earlier heading the investments team at Singapore-based VC firm OpenSpace Ventures, of which he was a founding member.
“We have been looking at a lot of opportunities and most of them are very interesting. In terms of quality of deal flow, I think that the kind of opportunities that have come up from this region has improved dramatically over the last 4-5 years. We’re not just talking about the volume, but the quality of companies, and the kind of products and services being created in this region. It’s going to be a very interesting time here in Southeast Asia,” said Collins.
The CVC joins Singapore-based HealthXCapital as one of the few funds in Southeast Asia targeting health and insurance-related investments in the region.
Edited excerpts of an interview with MMV managing director Doug Russell and MMV SEA managing directors Ryan Collins and Anvesh Ramineni: