Sequoia Capital raises $850m for first fund dedicated to SE Asia

Photo: REUTERS/Beawiharta

Sequoia Capital, one of the world’s top venture capital firms, announced on Monday that it has raised $850 million for its first fund dedicated to the Southeast Asia region.

The vehicle, Sequoia SEA Fund I, will double down the firm’s focus on the region, investing actively at the seed, Series A, and growth stages, according to the announcement.

“We will continue to bring our large portfolio specialist teams to partner with founders in their crucible moments,” Sequoia Capital, which is marking its 10th year anniversary in Southeast Asia, said.

Sequoia SEA Fund I is one of the three funds that Sequoia Capital successfully closed at an aggregate of $2.85 billion, the statement added. The two other vehicles are SC India Venture VIII and SC India Growth IV. This is the first time that Sequoia has separately allocated for India and Southeast Asia.

The firm had earlier postponed the closing date of the three funds pending an investigation into a portfolio company. Sequoia’s portfolio companies BharatPe, Trell, and Singapore-based Zilingo have undergone internal audits this year on charges of financial fraud and corporate governance issues. This had raised questions about the efficiency of the firm’s due diligence processes.

“This fundraise, which comes at a time when markets are starting to cool after a very long bull run, signals our deep commitment to the region and the faith our limited partners have in the long-term growth story of India and Southeast Asia,” said the firm.

Sequoia Capital had raised a total of $1.35 billion for two funds focused on India and Southeast Asia in July 2020. It closed its sixth India fund at $695 million in August 2018. Its fifth vehicle raised $920 million in 2016. Separately, the firm raised $200 million under its Surge programme, which invests in seed-stage startups based in India and Southeast Asia.

“Our initiatives in the region continue to reflect our desire to actively contribute to building and supporting the ecosystem in ways that go beyond capital,” added the firm.

Sequoia’s Surge, a 16-week programme of early-stage startups in India and Southeast Asia that it launched in 2019, has grown to a community of 246 founders from 112 startups across more than 15 sectors.

Last year, the firm also launched Sequoia Spark, its fellowship for female founders, and Sequoia Build, its program for growth-stage startups looking to scale sustainably.

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