Exclusive: Singapore’s Monk’s Hill raising $120m venture capital fund

Monk's Hills Ventures' Peng T. Ong

Singapore’s Monk’s Hill Ventures is raising a $120-million second fund to continue investing in early stage and Series A and B funding rounds, and also support companies from other parts of the world that want to expand into Asia, according to two people familiar with the matter.

This will be about 50 per cent larger than its maiden fund, which it had closed at around $85 million in 2016.

One of the industry executives aware of the development said that Monk’s Hill, which has offices in Singapore and Jakarta, had begun sounding out Limited Partners (LPs), on its second fund, and added that it was ‘early days’ still, with the final close expected only in 2019.

Monk’s Hill declined to comment if it was raising a second vehicle.

The firm, founded by experienced entrepreneurs –  Peng T. Ong, the co-founder of Match.com and founder of NASDAQ-listed Interwoven, and Kuo-Yi Lim, the former chief executive of Infocomm Investments –  had launched its first fund five years ago, targetting to raise $80 million. That had also ranked among the largest maiden funds by a Singapore-based venture capital firm. Among the LPs in its first vehicle were Cisco, Temasek, Telstra, and YJ Capital.

It has since invested in more than 16 companies in this region, and this includes language-learning mobile application ELSA, that recently announced its pre-A round of $3.2 million led by Monk’s Hill Ventures.

Last November, it led a series A financing round of $3.1 million into Horangi Cybersecurity, a Singapore-based startup. Monk’s Hill is also an early backer of homegrown logistics startup Ninja Van that had raised a record US$85 million (S$111.5 million) — in its series C funding round.

Earlier this year, the firm had roped in Mohd Ridzwan (Reez) Nordin as its venture partner, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Reez was earlier with Malaysia’s strategic investment fund, Khazanah Nasional, as part of the technology investment team.

Monk’s Hill joins several other VC firms in this region raising vehicles that are at $100 million or larger. Singapore’s Golden Gate Ventures is raising a $100 million third fund, and this portal had reported earlier that NSI Ventures (that was earlier a unit of private equity firm Northstar Group, which recently re-branding itself as Openspace Ventures and to operate as an independent, Southeast Asia-focused venture fund), was raising a $125 million second fund.

In February, this portal, quoting industry executives, had reported that Singapore-based Insignia Ventures Partners, founded by former Sequoia Capital venture partner Yinglan Tan, has closed its maiden fund at $120 million. It also makes Insignia Ventures Partners among the largest vehicles in Southeast Asia, behind Vickers Ventures that had recently raised $230 million for its fifth fund, and Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Singapore state fund Temasek Holdings Pte, that last year closed its third vehicle for this region at $210 million.

Other large funds in this region include Shanghai and Kuala-Lumpur based Gobi Partners that is currently raising a $200-million Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund, and Singapore and Silicon Valley-based K2 Global, which is targeting to raise $200 million for its second venture capital fund.

Monk’s Hill in its website highlighted that it was ‘bullish on the attractiveness of Southeast Asia as a region in Asia with rapidly growing opportunities. “We are excited with the rapid rise of entrepreneurial talent in Southeast Asia over the last ten years. We have seen great companies born in the region built by world-class entrepreneurs. Southeast Asia, with a population of over 600 million, represents enormous potential on a global scale. With some of the most social and mobile users in the world, the region presents fertile ground for the emergence of technology startup winners,” it added.

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.