SE Asia: One large market or several smaller plays? Hear from top investors at Asia PE-VC Summit

The 640 million people-strong Southeast Asia region has been seeing a spate of deal activity on the back of strong investor and corporate interest from across the world. An expanding middle class and growing mobile penetration render the region extremely attractive to growth-hungry investors.

Mega deals from the region that have made headlines this year so far include Singapore-headquartered ride-hailing firm Grab closing a $2 billion round in July and Indonesia’s Go-Jek raising $1.2 billion in May. Other notable deals include a $550 million Series E into Singaporean gaming startup Sea, formerly known as Garena, and Indonesia’s Traveloka raising $500 million from investors including Expedia.

At the Asia PE-VC Summit 2017, we will go beyond the deal frenzy to understand how investors view this region — is this a single contiguous market or are there several smaller markets at play that call for tweaking of investment strategies and resetting of investor expectations?

Meet our panelists:

Willson Cuaca

Co-founder & Managing Partner, East Ventures

One of the region’s most active investors and among its oldest early-stage VC firms, East Ventures closed its fifth fund worth $27.5 million earlier this year. Indonesia is a key market; the firm most recently backed a $500-million round in the archipelago’s online travel firm Traveloka.

Also Read: Indonesia: Traveloka raises $500m from Expedia, East Ventures, JD, others

East Ventures leads $500k investment in Singapore-based startup Airfrov

Hanno Stegmann 

CEO, Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG)

APACIG is a JV between Rocket Internet and Qatar’s Ooredoo. Focused on ecommerce, its portfolio includes 16 firms across the region such as household services website Helpling and budget hotel chain ZenRooms. Rocket Internet opened its first engineering hub in Asia early this year to support its startups.

Also Read: SEA’s potential makes Chinese investments strategically rational, says APACIG’s Stegmann

Rocket-backed Helpling raises $10.7m led by Singapore’s APACIG

Kay Mok Ku

Partner, Investment, Gobi Partners

Shanghai-based Gobi Partners, in partnership with Malaysia’s MAVCAP, is raising a $200 million Asean Growth fund. The vehicle, one of the largest in the region, has already secured three big names in the technology space as anchor investors — German electronics firm Bosch, US tech giant Cisco and consumer goods firm Unilever.

Also Read: Mavcap-Gobi’s $200m tech fund gets Bosch, Cisco, Unilever as anchor investors

Malaysia: Carsome raises $6m in Gobi Partners-led round

Minette Navarrete

Founder and President, Kickstart Ventures

Kickstart Ventures is Philippine telco Globe Telecom’s wholly-owned corporate venture capital arm that funds early-stage digital startups, providing capital, mentoring, and market access. Its portfolio includes SaaS firms such as Kalibrr and Lenddo, ecommerce firms AVA and ZipMatch, and digital lifestyle brands such as Zap.

Also Read: More diversity means more innovation in PE/VC: Minette Navarrete, Kickstart

Saemin Ahn

Managing Partner, Rakuten Ventures

The corporate VC arm of Japan’s ecommerce conglomerate Rakuten doubled its global fund size to $200 million last year. Ahn feels the differences in culture and geography and the overall economic divide in Southeast Asia could lead investors from developed markets to believe its fragmentation is harder to manage from a risk mitigation perspective.

Also Read: Series B gap a pain point in SE Asia from a Silicon Valley perspective: Rakuten

Paul Ark

Managing Director, Corporate Venture Capital, Digital Ventures

Thailand’s Digital Ventures, a fintech-focused venture capital subsidiary of Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), made its second direct investment earlier this year. Its funding in Hong Kong-based geolocation data startup Pulse iD came after it put in money in the US-based blockchain company Ripple in September last year.

Also Read: Thailand’s Digital Ventures invests in geolocation data firm Pulse iD

Executives from Temasek, CDPQ, Hanwha, IFC and many more leading organisations have already registered for Asia PE-VC Summit 2017. Have you?

Register before August 31 to save $500 off standard rate.