Singapore-based venture capital fund NSI Ventures, a unit of private equity firm Northstar Group, has re-branded itself as Openspace Ventures and moved under an operating model of being an independent, Southeast Asia-focused venture fund.
NSI Ventures founders Hian Goh and Shane Chesson will continue to manage the business for what is now Openspace Ventures, an announcement said on Thursday.
Along with the re-branding, the move also marks the transition of NSI to its own Monetary Authority of Singapore licence and independent operating model.
“The introduction of the new venture capital manager regime is timely, and we believe the moment has come for us to bring Openspace Ventures to the next stage as an independent, Southeast Asia-focused venture fund manager,” said Hian Goh, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Openspace Ventures.
Of the two founders, Chesson spent more than a decade covering the technology space as an investment banker while Goh is a former entrepreneur best known for setting up the Asian Food Channel, which was later sold to Scripps Interactive for an undisclosed amount.
NSI Ventures has been best known for its early investment in Indonesia’s Go-Jek along with other Singapore fast fashion e-commerce player Love Bonito, Vietnamese online education company Topica and FinAccel, an Indonesian online credit provider. Twelve of its 15 investments have completed substantial follow-on funding totaling over $2.2 billion.
“Openspace Ventures will assume the management of NSI Ventures, L.P. and NSI Ventures II, L.P. with aggregate capital commitments of over $150 million and investments in 19 portfolio companies,” the announcement said.
These funds will also be re-branded as Openspace Ventures, L.P. and Openspace Ventures II, L.P.
Openspace Ventures also claims to be one of the first fund managers to be licenced under the MAS’ simplified regulatory regime for venture capital managers. The new regime is well suited to Openspace Ventures’ investment strategy, will reduce administrative costs, and allow it to better focus its efforts and capital on supporting early-stage technology companies in Southeast Asia, it added.
Openspace Ventures focuses on Series A and B investments in technology companies based in Southeast Asia. Key areas of investment include fintech, healthtech, edutech, consumer applications and cloud-based solutions. The firm is currently investing its second fund, a $125-million fund, which is much bigger than its first vehicle at $90 million.
Patrick Walujo, co-founder and managing partner of the Northstar Group, will be appointed as a senior adviser to Openspace to provide strategic advice on Openspace Ventures’ Indonesian investments. Northstar, with a focus on Indonesia, manages assets worth over $2 billion.