Let’s start our weekly recap with a mix of good and bad news. First, the bad news. Dealmaking in Southeast Asia dropped nearly 72% month-on-month in August to just about $486 million, the third lowest so far this year, as the number of big-ticket deals dropped during the month, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia.
On the positive side, limited partners continue to bet big on India, hoping to reap rich returns in the years to come. PE-VC funds in the country have already raised $5.93 billion as of August 31, 2023, according to data from research firm Venture Intelligence.
Moreover, as Indian startups begin to hunker down and slash expenses, lay off employees, and diversify revenue streams to shape up their businesses, investors seem to be, slowly but surely, regaining confidence in the Indian startup ecosystem.
Real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners is looking to deploy $2-3 billion in the private credit sector over the next two years.
Asset manager BlackRock and the Singapore Exchange (SGX) have jointly launched a climate action fund in Singapore with $426 million in assets under management.
Hong Kong-based multi-asset investment firm Silverhorn, which is fundraising for its $300-million Asia Venture+ Program, expects to hit the first close for the fund-of-funds vehicle at $100-150 million by the year-end.
C Capital, backed by Hong Kong’s real estate tycoon Adrian Cheng, has closed its largest private equity fund to date, bringing the total investments from the principal fund and associated co-investment vehicles to over $250 million.
Hong Kong- and Shenzhen-based multifamily office LQ Pacific Partners managing partner Justin Chan said the firm is looking to make new investments while staying selective and mindful of the macroeconomic environment, where the repercussions of potential rate hikes can be unpredictable.
Taiwanese insurers Cathay Life Insurance and Fubon Life Insurance have made a total of $160 million in new capital commitments to four private funds.
In an industry often fraught with exit challenges, Chinese alternative asset manager CDH Investments, an active investor in SE Asia, has managed to maintain an exit strategy that is geared to yield consistent returns.
Indian private equity firm Xponentia Capital Partners has raked in over Rs 1,000 crore ($120 million) for its second fund as it looks to ramp up investments in the mid-market segment across the country.
Vertex Ventures has closed its fifth Southeast Asia & India fund at $541 million, or about 80% bigger than its predecessor. The fifth fund also exceeded its target size of $450 million amid a challenging fundraising environment.
MDI Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Telkom Indonesia, has announced a successor to its early-stage-focused funds Arise and Centauri, both of which are now fully deployed.
Dubai-based venture capital firm Nuwa Capital has closed its $100-million debut fund and is looking to double down on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It plans to expand to Southeast Asia in the next few years, said a top executive.
Kasikornbank, Thailand’s second-largest bank by assets, has launched a $100-million fund targeting artificial intelligence, Web3, and deep-tech fintech startups in APAC.
HSBC Malaysia has launched a 500 million ringgit ($106.8 million) fund focused on tech-led businesses operating in Malaysia’s digital economy.
Singapore-based climate tech venture capital fund Wavemaker Impact has raised $15 million from the US International Development Finance Corporation for its debut fund.
Singapore’s state investor Temasek has teamed up with two top local universities – Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) – to invest a total of $55 million in deep tech startups in the city-state.
Indian early-stage venture capital firm Kae Capital has secured $50 million in the final close of its Winners Fund II to invest in the best companies of its existing portfolio as well as new companies.
Early-stage investor Blume Ventures, which has backed the likes of Purplle, Slice and Unacademy, is nearing the final close for its new opportunity fund at around $50 million, DealStreetAsia has learnt.
Edelweiss Alternatives, a unit of India’s Edelweiss Group, said it has launched its first climate fund with a corpus of $500 million.
KKR & Co has increased its stake in Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail Ventures by investing an additional $250 million at a valuation of $100 billion, adding to its bet on the country’s biggest retailer.
India’s Serentica Renewables, a decarbonisation platform said it has raised $310 million in debt from power sector lender Power Finance Corp.
Indonesian e-commerce enabler SIRCLO is said to have acquired social commerce startup RateS. The deal was sealed between Q2 and Q3 this year and anchored by their mutual investor Vertex Southeast Asia and India, according to multiple sources aware of the development.
Hyperview, a Chinese developer of full-stack autonomous driving solutions, has closed its Series B round of financing across two tranches with over $82.5 million raised from investors, including Aramco’s Prosperity7 Ventures.
Early-stage investor Blume Ventures, which is currently on the road to raise capital for its $50 million opportunity fund, is in talks to invest in the robotics startup GreyOrange, which is carving out its expansion plans.
Dutch development bank FMO has proposed to invest a total of $25 million in Amartha Nusantara Raya, Indonesia’s largest micro-financing lending platform.
Hong Kong’s first virtual insurer, Bowtie, has raised $34.9 million in a funding round led by insurance company Sun Life Hong Kong Limited.
Indonesian online grocery platform Segari has secured $23.5 million in a Series B round from its existing investors, according to regulatory filings.
AWAK Technologies, a Singapore-based medical technology company, has raised more than $20 million in a Series B funding round co-led by Lion X Ventures and Vickers Venture Partners.
AI-based English learning app ELSA, backed by Vietnam Investment Group, has raised $23 million in a new funding round led by UOB Venture Management, the private equity arm of Singapore-based bank UOB.
Singapore-headquartered online streetwear marketplace Novelship has secured $9.5 million in a Series B funding round led by venture capital firms East Ventures, iGlobe Partners and GSR Ventures.
Saladin, a Vietnamese insurtech startup, has secured pre-Series A funding in a round anchored by the Singapore-based venture capital investor Monk’s Hill Ventures.
Hukumku, a legal-tech startup based in Indonesia, has secured an undisclosed amount in its latest funding round anchored by sector-agnostic venture capital investor East Ventures.
Southeast Asia’s largest car e-commerce platform Carsome is open to new funding from potential strategic investors, its co-founder and group CEO told Reuters.
Kale Logistics Solutions, a global vertical SaaS logistics platform backed by Inflexor Ventures, has raised $30 million in its Series B funding round anchored by private equity fund Creaegis Advisors.
Chinese cosmetics brand CODEMINT BEAUTY — co-founded by Chinese Internet celebrity Grace Chow — has received strategic funding from New Incubation Ventures, the early-stage investment and incubation arm of US luxury beauty firm The Estée Lauder Companies.
Analyses & interviews
The launch of Jenius by PT Bank BTPN Tbk in 2016 marked the emergence of a new banking order in Indonesia. Since then, many digital banks have come up in the archipelago backed by conglomerates or big tech companies, but seven years on, they are still finding their feet.
The Nasdaq is seeing exciting opportunities coming from Southeast Asia as it welcomes more Asian listings, said Bob McCooey, the US bourse’s vice president, who is responsible for leading business development for new listings in Latin America and the Asia Pacific.
Novotech Health Holdings, a clinical research and testing provider backed by private equity firm TPG and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, swung back into profit in 2022 after posting higher revenues.
Lab-grown dairy products manufacturer Turtletree Labs posted a net loss of $10 million for the financial year ended December 31, 2022, on the back of higher expenses, according to regulatory filings.
The surprise resignation of Daniel Zhang as head of Alibaba’s key cloud unit has thrown a spotlight on the continuing influence of Jack Ma over the company he helped found and led for over two decades.
Notwithstanding the ongoing downcycle, early investors are still seeing ample investment opportunities as there is no dearth of high-quality founders, Antler’s newly-appointed partner Agung Bezharie Hadinegoro said.
From the Asia PE-VC Summit 2023…
Asked why eFishery needs so much funding despite being profitable, Indonesia’s newly minted unicorn said it requires capital for future expansion, covering cash delays, and boosting export capacity and capability, Dhianendra Laksmana, the startup’s chief financial officer, said at a fireside chat.
Private capital fundraising in Asia Pacific is likely to hit a decade low this year, but investors continue to spot great opportunities for outsized returns across certain industries in markets like India and Japan, said Pantheon Ventures partner Brian Lim during a keynote chat.
At the event, venture capitalists acknowledged the challenges of maintaining discipline amid the “fear of missing out” during the last era.
Despite the current global economic uncertainties, Indonesia remains an attractive investment destination due to its size, rapid economic growth, and relatively supportive regulations, agreed INA chief investment officer Stefanus Ade Hadiwidjaja and Northstar Group managing director Sunata Tjiterosampurno at a fireside chat.
Asian family offices have long played a small but crucial role in the region’s investor landscape, said panellists at another session.
Southeast Asia is poised to be one of the vital consumption engines in the world, thanks to the over 200 million digital-savvy young population and a growing middle class in the region, said investors and startup founders.
With its automotive manufacturing capabilities as well as rich nickel resources, the region is also set to be the next key market for electric vehicles in Asia.
Pricing gaps, valuation uncertainties, alignment issues, and capital scarcity are some of the key roadblocks to the widespread adoption of GP-led secondaries in Asia, said industry insiders.
Climate tech funding in SE Asia breached the psychologically important $1-billion mark last year, but panellists at a climate tech session said the nascent space needs to see a further rise in entrepreneurial activity and capital injection for sustainable growth.
The rush of capital and talent into Singapore has brought with it several Chinese entrepreneurs looking to secure a foothold in the Southeast Asian market. Yet, they need to be adaptable and remodel their businesses to serve the diverse and fragmented region, opined experts.
Offering equity and token warrants—a hybrid fundraising structure that entitles investors to equity ownership of a company and also the right to purchase tokens that will be rolled out in the future—has risen to prominence among crypto venture capitalists, said panellists.o”.