Singapore: Razer launches $30m fund targeting IoT, VR startups

Visual of Razer portal. November 2015.

Razer, a gaming hardware company producing mice, keyboards and other peripherals optimised for dedicated computer gaming, has launched a $30 million venture fund, zVentures, which will be operate out of San Francisco and Singapore.

This was announced alongside the company’s plans to go eventually go public.  In a statement at TechCrunch Disrupt, CEO and founder Min-Liang Tan explained:  “We’ve considered going public for some time. But the key for us is we want to make sure we’re ready to go public. There’s no reason for us to stay private. But we want to make sure all the corporate governance is address. We want to make sure we’ve crossed the Ts and dotted the Is on pretty much everything.”

Commenting on the launch of the fund, Tan said, “I think our core business is very profitable. But we’ve got some very exciting initiatives that we’re going to double down on.”

With a continued focus on building up sustainable revenue, the launch of zVentures, which will function as Razer’s corporate ventures arm and pursue strategic investments, will focus on sectors such as the Internet of Things (IoT), connected hardware big data analytics, virtual and augmented reality, and robotics among others.

It will also target investments in startup ventures and businesses that are relevant to its product ecosystem, in addition to technologies being developed to address problems in supply chain management, sales and marketing, and other areas. Focusing on early-stage startups, ticket sizes of investments will range from $100,000 to $1 million.

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Speaking on the launch of the zVentures, Tan explained: “zVentures is a fund for startups, by a startup. Our focus is to bring value by sharing the solutions of our portfolio companies with the Razer community, supporting them with our hardware and software expertise and making available our global retail and distribution networks.”

According to Tan, the fund has already made undisclosed investments in specific ventures, with more investments to come in ventures operating in the VR, e-commerce and gaming sectors.

This fund will concurrently make investments that both support Razer’s community and the growth of its ecosystem, as well as creating an M&A pipeline to fuel future growth and which provides opportunities for strategic investments.

In turn, portfolio firms that are part of the fund will be able to leverage on Razer’s software and hardware expertise, as well as its distribution network.

The corporate VC fund of the unicorn corporation, which is valued at $1.5 billion, also has limited partners (LPs) in the form of the same investors that back Razer. These include investors like Accel, IDG, Temasek’s Heliconia Capital Management, and China’s LianLuo.

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