Vertex Ventures makes first close of fourth Southeast Asia fund at $230m

A man carrying an umbrella walks along the Jubilee Bridge in front of the city skyline in Singapore. Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd. raised $230 million in the first close of its fourth Southeast Asian fund to back technology startups across the region and India.

The Singapore-based venture capital arm of Temasek Holdings Pte plans to finalize the funding in the next few months, which could take it above the first close, said Chua Kee Lock, managing partner of Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India. Most of the investors in its third fund, including Cathay Financial Holding Co., have backed the new one.

After the success of its bet on ride-hailing app Grab, now Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup, Vertex plans to continue backing early-stage technology for financial services, enterprise and consumers in the region. The net internal rate of return of its third Southeast Asian and Indian fund, which started in 2016, was 45.2% as of December, according to a presentation to investors.

“Our investors have shown confidence in us by participating in the first closing, which hit the initial target of the fund,” Chua said. “The reality is that there are some concerns about the trade war and valuations and the fundraising environment is getting harder.”

Earlier Vertex investments include online shopping store FirstCry.com; InstaReM, a cross-border digital payments startup; Validus, an online financing marketplace; and Binance Asia, a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

The VC firm got its start three decades ago and Chua joined as chief executive officer of Vertex Venture Holdings in 2008 and expanded it into a global operation with $2.5 billion under management as of October. Today, it manages portfolios in China, Israel, India, Southeast Asia and the U.S.

The new fund comes amid a flurry of fundraising activities in the region. Jungle Ventures is currently raising a $200 million fund, while Golden Gate Ventures has teamed up with South Korea’s Hanwha Asset Management to raise a $200 million fund.

Bloomberg

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.