Singapore-based venture capital firm Velocity Ventures has launched a $20 million fund to help companies build solutions that address the pandemic’s impact, media reports suggest.
The VC firm specialises in the hospitality and travel industry — a sector that has been pounded by the pandemic.
The fund will target tech startups in Southeast Asia in their seed and Series A+ funding rounds. It will emphasise innovation and opportunity to enable rapid digital transformation.
The global opportunity for digitalisation in the hospitality and tourism sector is supported by the high rate of mobile travel bookings globally and mobile penetration, says Velocity Venture’s website. There is also the growing middle class in Southeast Asia, and their higher spending power leading to increased demand for travel, which is aiding digitalisation.
Velocity Ventures’s fund will provide a corporate partnerships feature, which is designed to match startups with noted travel and hospitality industry players to access mentoring and piloting support.
Velocity Ventures is collaborating with Singapore Tourism Board’s Singapore Tourism Accelerator, Plug and Play APAC, and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
Velocity Ventures expects the hospitality and travel industry in Southeast Asia to attain pre-pandemic growth levels of around 5.5 percent within the duration of the fund.
Southeast Asia’s travel and tourism industry accounts for 12.1 per cent of the region’s GDP and 13.3 percent of its employment. The industry was also the fastest-growing sector before COVID-19. Currently, there are about 5,000-6,000 travel and hospitality startups in the region.
Velocity Ventures was founded by A Patrick Imbardelli, the former CEO of the Pan Pacific Hotels and InterContinental Hotels Group (APAC) and Nicholas Cocks, the entrepreneur and investor.