Verge Healthtech plans to close $10m seed-stage fund in March

Heartbeat being electronically monitored.

Verge Healthtech, a SE Asian heath-tech investment firm, is planning to close its $10-million vehicle in mid-March, according to managing partner Joseph Mocanu.

The firm has already secured commitments to the extent of 85 per cent of the targeted fund size till now.

Founded in 2018, Verge seeks to make early-stage investments in companies that are engaged in disease prevention and management and work on health system efficiency.

The company has made seed investments in seven startups already of which three are based in Singapore while there are one each in Taiwan, Estonia, the US, and Canada.

“We saw a big opportunity in health tech investments at the angel stage. We thought what is required is a very small fund that has a laser-sharp focus on early-stage health tech entrepreneurs. Larger funds will either overcapitalise these small companies or be too tempted to focus on the later stage [startups],” he told DealStreetAsia.

Verge has drawn commitments from high net worth individuals, successful entrepreneurs, senior executives, and family offices in the region.

Verge is looking to invest in startups at the seed stage and will broadly chase targets with a developed proof-of-concept but at a pre-revenue stage. Its average ticket size could be $250k-$750k leaving some room for follow-on investments.

With the $10-million fund, the investment firm is looking at a portfolio size of 15-20 companies by March 2022.

It has backed US-based Vigor Medical Systems, which makes clinical-grade spirometers to test lung function. Its devices are cloud-connected and can fit in the palm of one’s hand.

Its other investment is in Toronto-based RetiSpec, which can detect Alzheimer’s many years before symptoms emerge through retina imaging. RetiSpec is also backed by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, which is supported by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and the Estee Lauder family.

It has also backed Singapore-based Reach52 that provides healthcare IT infrastructure and logistics support to rural villages in south-east Asia. It is present in the Philippines and Cambodia with plans to enter Myanmar and India. Its other Singapore portfolio firms include personal fitness app Active8Me and AKUOS.

He declined to share the financial terms of any of these transactions. However, he said, Verge led the $1-million round for Taiwanese startup iWeeCare that makes smart continuous thermometer patches.

Health-tech companies in southeast Asia saw record deal activity in 2019 attracting investments worth  $266 million, more than double what was invested before, according to industry researcher Galen Growth.

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.