Indonesia and Vietnam are emerging as key highlights among Silicon Valley and European investors, said Pegasus Tech Ventures’s general partner and CEO Anis Uzzaman.
“Indonesia and Vietnam are the talk of the town these days, even in Silicon Valley. Investors are eyeing their growth rate, how much they can do, and how far they can expand. It’s an opportunity,” said Uzzaman in a Zoom interview with DealStreetAsia.
Uzzaman sees this as a turning point for the region with investors beginning to view Southeast Asia as the larger Asian opportunity against the backdrop of thorny relations between China and the US.
Pegasus Tech Ventures, an early-stage investor which has invested in some 180 global companies including SpaceX, SoFi, Airbnb and DoorDash, already boasts a number of unicorns from its Southeast Asian portfolio.
The Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist has been investing in Southeast Asia since 2013.
Its Southeast Asian portfolio covers 40 companies, including Gojek, Bukalapak, Alodokter, and Ritase. Its prominent exits include Moka, which was acquired by Gojek, and Bridestory, acquired by Tokopedia.
The firm, which currently has a team of seven in Jakarta, is also actively considering establishing a presence in Vietnam this year to enhance its deal flow pipeline in the market.
LPs bullish on SE Asia
Pegasus, which oversees $1.5 billion in assets across 28 funds, shared that one-third of its limited partners (LPs) have expressed interest in Southeast Asia. This is likely to see the VC pushing for bigger deployment in the region. Pegasus targets seed to series A opportunities in Southeast Asia, with ticket sizes ranging from $50,000-$1 million and higher.
“(Our LPs) cannot ignore the population of 600 billion-plus people living in Southeast Asia. And it is easy to do business here as well. We have not experienced as many obstacles investing in the region. Governments are easy to work with in these countries, which has definitely helped and encouraged us to continue,” added Uzzaman.
Unlike most traditional VC firms, Pegasus runs a single-LP fund model in which a majority 24 out of its 28 funds are single corporate LPs. About 50-60% of its LPs are from Asia, particularly Japan and Taiwan.
Its LPs include Japan’s Aishin Seiki, Sojitz Corporation and Sega Corporation, Taiwan’s Asus and Acer, and Indonesia’s Kalbe Pharmaceuticals.
Pegasus Tech Ventures was previously known as Fenox Venture Capital. Around 2017, Uzzaman became the target of sexual misconduct by an anonymous blogger online. In the middle of that year, Uzzaman filed a complaint, alleging that the blog post was written by a competitor who pretended to be a female victim of harassment in order to damage his reputation.
“We are still waiting for the final verdict, but we expect it to be out by this year,” said Uzzaman.
In the meantime, it’s business as usual for Uzzaman and his team. The firm already has an exit pipeline in place, mostly from its mature investments in the US and Japan. He anticipates five IPOs across the US and Japan, as well as another five M&A exits from the US by the end of 2021.