Editor’s take: The week that was — Sept 21-26

As we usher in a new week, here is a quick recap of the important developments that unfolded over the last week.

Fundraising in the times of COVID-19

Morgan Stanley’s Asia private equity unit, Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (MSPEA), has secured nearly $400 million in capital commitments so far for its fifth Asia PE fund.

In Singapore, Altara Ventures launched a $100 million debut fund to focus on tech deals in Southeast Asia. The firm’s five general partners are Koh Boon Hwee, Tan Chow Boon, Seow Kiat Wang, Gavin Teo and Dave Ng.

Meanwhile, Sequoia Capital China is looking to raise at least $2.2 billion for a new RMB fund as it ramps up its focus on sectors ranging from industrial technology, healthcare and consumer to media.

China’s IDG Capital is in talks to raise $550 million for a new fund. The development comes at a time when the VC firm is in the process of raising $688 million for another fund launched in March this year.

In Indonesia, VC firm Alpha JWC is sticking to its early-stage investment philosophy as it gears up to launch its third fund. Industry sources say the firm is targeting to raise between $200 million and $250 million for its third vehicle.

Deal News

In Singapore, venture capital firm Openspace Ventures announced the first investment from its new opportunity fund, OSV+, which is focused on mid-stage technology investing. In a statement, the VC firm said OSV+ backed health analytics platform Biofourmis, which raised $100 million in its Series C round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based plant-based food producer Green Monday Holdings secured $70 million in new funding led by The Rise Fund, a part of San Francisco-based global investment firm TPG, and Hong Kong-listed conglomerate Swire Pacific Limited.

In India, edtech startup Byju’s roped in BlackRock, Sands Capital and Alkeon Capital as its new investors, as part of its ongoing $500-million fundraising round. Earlier this month, the company had raised funds from investors including private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, General Atlantic, Owl Ventures and Tiger Global at a valuation of $10.8 billion.

In Indonesia, Yummy Corp bagged $12 million in a round led by SoftBank Ventures Asia. Hong Kong-based Vectr Ventures, AppWorks, Quest Ventures, Coca Cola Amatil X, Palm Drive Capital also participated in the round along with existing investors Intudo Ventures and Sovereign’s Capital.

Shanghai-based WM Motor announced the completion of a Series D round of financing at 10 billion yuan ($1.47 billion), the largest financing for an electric vehicle maker in the country by far.

In Japan, Sequoia co-led a $100 million funding in Tokyo’s mobile gaming unicorn Playco, thereby pegging its valuation at $1 billion. What’s significant is the news of the investment came in as part of the announcement of the company’s launch last week.

In-depth pieces

A feature focused on women-owned enterprises in Southeast Asia highlighted how investors are increasingly evincing interest in businesses led by women to narrow the billion-dollar financing gap faced by them.

Southeast Asia, along with East Asia, witnessed 23 active, private market, gender lens investing (GLI) vehicles at the end of last year with total assets under management of $815 million, up 77 per cent from the year before.

Crowded market and tighter regulatory norms are set to drive consolidation in Vietnam’s e-payments space. There are 37 licensed intermediary payment services (IPS) providers, including 34 e-wallets, in the country that serve an adult population of slightly over 66 million.

Candid Chats

Edwin Wong, managing partner and CEO at Ares SSG, told DealStreetAsia in an interview that the firm sees great potential in the real estate and financial services sectors in India and China.  The coronavirus pandemic, he said, has driven up demand in Asia for alternative capital, particularly as banks seek to manage their risks during the crisis.

Meanwhile, Shannon Kalayanamitr, partner at VC firm Gobi Partners, shared her perspective on the Southeast Asian VC ecosystem and its performance in terms of gender diversity. “There are not enough women in VC in decision-making positions… Even in Southeast Asia, 73 per cent of venture capital firms in the region don’t have a female investing partner,” she said.

In Indonesia, state-owned digital payments provider LinkAja is understood to be slowly getting back on its feet after a rude jolt from the COVID-19 pandemic, said its chief marketing officer Edward Killian Suwignyo. “Our transactions from transportation and offline merchants dropped more than 50 per cent, particularly in April and May. It was the hardest moment for our merchants and us,” he said.

In Singapore, brand enablement platform AnyMind Group is scouting for M&A deals to expand its operations in Japan and India, its CEO and co-founder Kosuke Sogo told us over a chat. The firm, he said, is eyeing acquisitions to drive deeper into segments such as e-commerce, cloud manufacturing, and direct-to-consumer brands.

People moves

Private equity firm CVC Capital has roped in Justin Choi, who until recently led equity fundraising, mergers and acquisitions and investments, joint ventures and equity-linked partnerships at ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek. The appointment indicates the PE firm’s growing interest in tech investments, once the domain of venture capital funds.

Meanwhile, Thai venture capitalist Paul Ark (Polapat Arkkrapridi) has joined pan-Asia VC firm Gobi Partners as an advisor, after a nine-month sabbatical. In his new role, Ark will “advise on, design, and implement various startup, and innovation initiatives, including ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) and sustainability, and regional ecosystem development.”

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.