Indonesian early-stage VC firm SALT Ventures begins raising $20m second fund

(Left to right): SALT Ventures partners Vincentius Prasetyo, Andika Sutoro Putra, Danny Sutradewa, and Bong Chandra.

Indonesian early-stage venture capital firm SALT Ventures has kicked off a roadshow to raise capital for its second fund, which is targeting a corpus of $20 million.

In an exclusive interaction with DealStreetAsia, SALT partner Danny Sutradewa said the firm launched the fund at the start of the year and has already received commitments from a few LPs, but it is in no rush to close the fund. “We usually give ourselves a period of around one-and-a-half to two years to close the fund,” he said.

Helmed by partners Sutradewa, Andika Sutoro Putra, Bong Chandra, and Vincentius Prasetyo, SALT’s leadership boasts of experience and expertise in the fields of finance, investment, and property.

The firm says it focuses on companies in the “creative industry”, which it defines as asset-light, tech, or tech-enabled. It is open to investing in all sectors even as it is particularly interested in clocking deals in the business-to-consumer (B2C) segment. It also places great emphasis on factors such as growth and sustainability.

SALT’s debut fund, launched in 2019, was closed last year for an undisclosed amount, with backing from multiple local LPs, consisting of institutional investors and high net-worth individuals.

As of January 2021, SALT had deployed around 70% of the debut fund, having backed a total of 14 pre-seed and seed-stage companies over the last couple of years.

Among its early investments are beauty startup SYCA, car inspection company Otospector, and microlearning platform MentorGue. SALT does not disclose the size of its investments but it cuts cheques ranging from as low as $100,000 to as high as $1 million.

With a larger second fund at its disposal, Sutradewa said SALT will be able to write bigger cheques and back companies from seed to Series A stages.

Additionally, the new fund will have a keen eye on the retail sector, which has suffered due to COVID-19 but is expected to recover after the pandemic. “We feel that the next boom will be in retail. When people’s incomes return to pre-COVID levels, they will start spending again and the first beneficiaries of this will be the retailers: whether its fashion, F&B, or other retail categories,” he said.

End to investment lull

After backing around 10 companies in 2019, SALT slowed its investment activity in pandemic-ridden 2020, when it injected capital in only two companies.

The first was a seed investment in women’s footwear brand Amazara, while the second was a pre-seed round in R66, a content and influencer management agency helmed by the TV personality Helmy Yahya. R66 employs a team of creative, production, and business experts that provide end-to-end support to creators and influencers and help brands create digital campaigns.

Sutradewa said his firm felt it was the perfect time to put money into R66, which is in the process of securing investments from other investors as well. “R66’s main revenue is from advertisement, and we are seeing that brands are allocating the majority of their advertising budget to influencers. The money is shifting to this new industry,” he said.

Sutradewa is hopeful of sealing more investments in 2021. “Last year we made two investments, this year we can maybe do more than five,” he said.

This year, with the market showing signs of recovery, Sutradewa believes SALT can be more active in its investment than last year. In fact, the firm is currently in talks to invest in three companies and expects to seal deals with two of them within the next month.

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.