The LP View: Crises can be good time to deploy capital, says Silverhorn's Bert Kwan

For Hong Kong-based multi-asset investment firm Silverhorn, Asian fund managers with experience in operating through different market cycles would be the sweet spot for its primary investment.

The opportunities in Asia are presented by a large cohort of young entrepreneurs, and the number of funds that are looking to back those entrepreneurs, according to Bert Kwan, Silverhorn’s newly appointed head of private equity.

As reported by DealStreetAsia, the firm is understood to be raising $300 million for its pan-Asia, tech-biased early-to-growth investment programme that will invest in funds as well as make co-investments and direct investments.

The majority of Silverhorn’s investment programme is understood to be put in primary investments, as the firm looks to back both regional funds and country-specific funds.

While Kwan did not disclose the general partners the firm has invested in, Singapore-based Genesis Alternative Ventures said last year that it had raised its $80 million first fund from investors including Silverhorn.

Silverhorn also mentions on its website that the firm has “partnered” with Asian fund managers such as China’s the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, Gobi Ventures and Hundreds Capital; Vietnam’s Mekong Capital; as well as secondary private equity firm TR Capital Group.

While planning for a venture capital investment programme during a period marked by a lot of volatility and uncertainty, Kwan asserted that such challenging times could help investors separate the wheat from the chaff.

Southeast Asia has emerged as a strong destination for risk-taking investors in Asia with the region minting 25 unicorns in 2021 alone. However, the number of backable startups in the region “is many multiples wider and deeper than those 25 unicorns,” Kwan said. Within Southeast Asia, Silverhorn is focused on the Indonesia and Vietnam markets.

Companies with a higher, inherent return on capital, and a clearer path to profitability will ultimately emerge as champions, he added.

Kwan has over two decades of private equity investment experience in the US and Asia. Before joining Silverhorn, he helped set up and led BDA Capital Partners, the private equity arm of investment banking firm BDA Partners.

Prior to that, Kwan was managing director at Southeast Asian PE firm Northstar Group and Standard Chartered Private Equity (now Affirma Capital), where he led investments in a spate of Internet and consumer businesses, such as e-commerce platform Tiki, fintech company MoMo, restaurant operator Golden Gate, and kid entertainment centres group N Kid in Vietnam.

Earlier in his career, he spent a decade with Lehman Brothers Private Equity in New York, Silicon Valley and Hong Kong, where he originated and executed investments across Asia and the US.

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