Wavemaker Partners closes third SE Asia fund at $111m, exceeds target

Wavemaker Partners managing partner Paul Santos. Photo: Wavemaker Partners

Singapore and Los Angeles-based seed investor Wavemaker Partners has achieved the final close of its third Southeast Asian fund at $111 million, exceeding its target of $100 million.

According to a statement by the firm, Wavemaker hit the final close in June this year, following its first close in April 2019. The fund is anchored by Temasek, Pavilion Capital, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Concentric Equity Partners and Vulcan Capital.

A total of 73 limited partners (LPs) backed the vehicle, including a university endowment, institutional investors, family offices and HNWIs. Around 30 per cent of the capital came from investors based in Southeast Asia.

Wavemaker is one of Southeast Asia’s largest and most active seed investors, having invested in over 130 startups since 2012. Its previous $60-million fund in 2017 was already one of the largest seed funds of its time.

The firm’s noted exits to date include Moka (acquired by Grab), Wavecell (acquired by 8×8) and Red Dot Payment (acquired by PayU/Naspers).

The firm has clocked eight exits with a total enterprise value of $491.5 million. These include Art of Click ($21.5m), Coins.ph ($72m), Gushcloud ($8m), Luxola ($40m), Moka ($130m), Red Dot Payment ($65m), Wavecell ($125m) and undisclosed ($30m).

“We’re grateful to be able to achieve our fund target despite the tough economic environment. We’re hopeful that our focus on investing in enterprise and deep tech startup teams that solve meaningful problems with superior, differentiated offerings and robust unit economics will pay off in the long term,” said its managing partner Paul Santos.

Wavemaker added that the COVID-19 pandemic has helped strengthen its conviction around B2B businesses – a segment that remains largely undervalued in Southeast Asia.

The outbreak has seen large swathes of Southeast Asia’s 650 million-strong population adopt technology in their day-to-day lives. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – which comprise some 95 per cent Southeast Asian businesses – are also rapidly searching for more localised solutions to do better business.

About 86 per cent of Wavemaker’s Southeast Asian portfolio companies are enterprise-focused firms, while the remaining 32 per cent are deep tech and artificial intelligence startups. Some notable names include construction site management company Novade, B2B FMCG marketplace GudangAda, and laser communications startup Transcelestial.

Its assets under management (AUM) currently stand at about $180 million to date.

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.