Wavemaker Partners raising $120m fourth SE Asia fund; IFC likely to come in as LP

Wavemaker Partners managing partner Paul Santos. Photo: Wavemaker Partners

Singapore and Los Angeles-based seed investor Wavemaker Partners is in the market again to raise its fourth Southeast Asia-focused fund, with a target corpus of $120 million, according to a disclosure made by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is proposing an equity investment of up to $10 million in the fund – Wavemaker SEA Fund IV – but not exceeding 20 per cent of the vehicle’s total capital commitments.

The fourth fund aims to invest primarily in enterprises or B2B and deep tech companies led by entrepreneurs creating superior value by leveraging technology to deliver high-impact automation, data, intelligence, IFC disclosed. DealStreetAsia has reached out to the firm for confirmation.

Wavemaker is one of Southeast Asia’s largest and most active seed investors, having invested in over 130 startups since 2012. Its third Southeast Asian fund closed in June 2020 at $111 million, exceeding its $100-million target.

IFC also invested in the fund, joining Temasek, Pavilion Capital, Concentric Equity Partners, and Vulcan Capital as anchor investors.

The venture capital firm has clocked at least 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).

IFC said its proposed investment in Wavemaker’s latest fund will help address the VC funding gap in the region, especially in the very early seed or series A stages. IFC considers these stages as riskier segment and lacks sophisticated institutional funds.

It expects the fund to provide access to early stage capital and operational support that will lead to increased ability of startups to scale and succeed.

“The fund’s innovative investees bring new business models, sometimes into underserved parts of the region, demonstrating the viability of early-stage VC investments in a region where VC funding is still in its infancy,” IFC said.

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.

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.