Singapore: Vickers Venture Partners plans $500m fund targeting biotech, AI

Vickers Venture Partners's Finian Tan at DealStreetAsia's Asia PE-VC Summit 2017 in Singapore.

Singapore-based Vickers Venture Partners is looking to raise its largest fund yet of up to $500 million later this year as it seeks to increase investment in biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI), said its chairman, Finian Tan.

The venture capital firm is already looking for investors to participate in its Fund VI, Tan said in an interview.

“It’s not so soon (but) we are soft-marketing right now, looking for anchor investors for our new fund,” he told Reuters.

At $500 million, Fund VI will be one of the largest venture capital funds to be raised in Southeast Asia. 

Singapore-based venture capital firms, which benefit from government incentives, have enjoyed robust fundraising in 2017. Fundraising in the island city has attracted foreign investors ranging from family offices to corporate backers who want a finger in the technology investment space.

Vickers adopts a largely non-thematic strategy globally but is keen to ride on the growth it sees in biotechnology, nanotechnology and AI, Tan said.

“In these three megatrends, if you follow them and invest in them, the growth will be exponential,” he said.

The firm closed its fifth fund of $230 million in October. Of that, it has committed to about $130 million in deals and expects another $20 million worth to be closed soon.

“We still have some reserves for follow-on investments, and we probably have space for perhaps another seven new deals,” he said.

Biotechnology is the best-performing sector in Vickers’ portfolio, achieving a multiple of more than 10 times for the firm, Tan said, due largely to an investment five years ago in San Diego-based regenerative medicine technology company Samumed LLC, a unicorn startup valued at $12 billion.

The current average valuation multiple across its first four funds is 5.8 times, with a net internal rate of return of 37 percent.

“All our life science investments are in the U.S. and U.K. currently, but we plan to invest more in Asia,” he said.

Tan’s investment track record includes China’s Baidu Inc five years before it went public – a deal he entered as then-head of Asia at DFJ Eplanet Ventures, and which has since become the one he is most recognized for. The investment made DFJ Eplatnet Ventures the largest shareholder of Baidu when the search engine provider listed.

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Reuters

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.