PE firm ALTUS Digital Capital launches digitalization platform in SEA

Altus Digital Capital co-founder and managing director Randy McGraw (center) is joined in by ADC co-founder and director Pavan Gidwani (left), and director Ben Sevilla (visual from ADC's Facebook page).

A new private equity platform ALTUS Digital Capital (ADC) formally made its debut in the Philippines focused on investing in native digital companies in emerging markets in Southeast Asia.

ADC is a division of Altus Capital Partners, a partner company of International Finance Corp (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank.

Led by its co-founder and managing director Randy McGraw, ADC opened last week its headquarters in the financial district of Makati City. The firm focuses on the TMT (technology, media, and telecoms), fintech, and e-commerce sectors in the region.

In an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, McGraw explained ADC is an owner-operator model of private equity firm, which considers backing a business or market problem that needs to be addressed, and that the firm was looking to partner with managements of companies to apply both its capital and digital activation platforms, to solve the problems the companies faced, and also to enhance revenue and earnings growth.

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Although he declined to disclose the vehicle size, McGraw said they pay attention to the sub $20 million level which he describes as “anathematic” to most PE firms.

“A great deal of opportunity in emerging markets resides at the sub-$20 million level, a level at which many PE firms won’t participate,” McGraw said. “There’s a ton of opportunity in the digital sector in emerging markets, but you must be willing as a firm to get your hands very dirty as there are significant pain points overall that hold back digitalization.”

He said ADC will look at established companies in need of a “digital expression”, and added that the PE firm will look to apply its digital activation platform to the equation to make the investment thesis pop.

Operating in beta mode in 2016, ADC has made three significant investments and is in varying stages of closing three more in 2017. Its first two organic investments ― M2 Media Pte Ltd, and GoSPCE Pte Ltd ― both exceed $500,000.

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M2 Media integrates rich community and social elements with UGC & PGC and targeted e-comm, while GoSPCE does its own approach to shared living space for shared work and shared play space.

“A lot of value remains locked in emerging markets, because the key to unlocking it is way outside simply applying financial capital – in the digital sector in particular, its often as simple as the inability to build the proper digital strategy or activate it properly with existing in-house skill sets. Hence, we built our digital activation platform,” McGraw added.

ADC has a satellite office in Singapore and is currently in search for a country manager in Thailand.

Aside from financial professionals, ADC continues to grow its team of 65 professionals with skills in digital marketing, software development, and Digital BFA (business & financial analysis) that it actively applies to solving the problems encountered in the development and execution of digitalization investments.

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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.