SE Asia one of most exciting regions to build tech-enabled business: Square Peg partner

Partner, Square Peg Capital. Photo: LinkedIn.

Despite taking a drubbing by the coronavirus pandemic, Southeast Asia continues to be one of the most exciting markets in the world to build a tech-enabled business, said a senior executive at Australia’s largest pensions-backed venture capital firm.

Square Peg Capital recently raised $270 million from investors including pension funds AustralianSuper Pty and Host-Plus Pty ahead of the first close of its latest set of funds. The capital raise makes it Australia’s largest venture firm, with more than A$1 billion ($695 million) under management.

“Every crisis creates opportunities and some of the tech leaders of today emerged during earlier crises. We think that the next decade will be a great one for venture investing, as more exceptional people look to build exciting tech businesses,” Square Peg partner Tushar Roy told DealStreetAsia.

Founded in 2012 by Paul Bassat, Tony Holt, Justin Liberman, and Barry Brott, Square Peg Capital is raising two funds – Fund III, which invests at Series A and B stages across Southeast Asia, Australia, and Israel, and Opportunities Fund 1, which invests in later-stage rounds of its portfolio companies.

Roy said the VC firm continues to invest and remains committed to its plan of establishing a Southeast Asia office in Singapore. Square Peg struck five new deals so far this year, including two in Southeast Asia. It made three investments in the last quarter alone.

“We typically make 5-10 new investments a year, so we are still in line with that. We have also been active in following-on into our portfolio companies,” Roy said.

Roy talked about the challenges and opportunities caused by the pandemic, fundraising activities in Australia and Southeast Asia, and Square Peg’s early investment in tech unicorn Canva.

Edited excerpts of an interview:

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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.