Editor’s take: The week that was — August 3-8

We are back with our weekly recap of significant developments, exclusives, interviews and analytical pieces.

On the fundraising trail

KKR & Co has raised approximately $11 billion for its fourth Asia-focused buyout fund, making it the largest pan-Asian private equity fund in the world. KKR is reportedly seeking to raise $12.5 billion for the fund. The PE giant also secured a $300 million commitment for the fund from the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Accel-KKR, a Silicon Valley-based tech investor, is in the market to raise $300 million for a new fund that will likely focus on emerging markets. Accel-KKR has been actively investing in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in Australia and New Zealand.

The State Board of Administration of Florida made a combined $250 million commitment to two Asia-focused funds – MBK Partners V and PAG Asia Loan Fund IV – in the second quarter of this year.

China’s consumer sector-focused Tiantu Capital has reached the first close of its maiden USD-denominated venture capital fund as the company targets a final close of up to $150 million. Swiss food and drink processing giant Nestlé was a cornerstone investor in the fund.

Chinese venture capital firm Buhuo Ventures has reached the first close of its second RMB-denominated fund at $100 million to make early and growth-stage bets in the supply chain sector.

Gobi Partners closed its 2017-vintage Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund in December 2019 after meeting its $200-million target. The fund is focused on cloud services, e-commerce, fintech and Muslim-focused tech.

Australian venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures, which counts graphic design unicorn Canva in its portfolio, has raised $356 million for its fourth vehicle. We caught up with Blackbird Ventures general partner Nick Crocker who spoke to us about the Australian VC’s investment approach in the times of COVID-19.

Singapore-headquartered Jungle Ventures is tapping wealthy investors eyeing an easier route to the city-state’s coveted permanent residence status for a new fund. The VC firm is one of the two fund managers selected under Singapore’s Global Investor Programme.

Interviews and analysis

Hong Kong’s on-demand delivery firm Lalamove is ramping up efforts to expand into the United States in the third quarter of 2020. “I think the US presents a very interesting and exciting opportunity for us… Our ambition is not just one or two cities, it is actually to bring our services to as many local communities as possible, particularly during this time when small businesses are struggling,” Blake Larson, Managing Director (International) at Lalamove, told us.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis has opened up significant opportunities for PE firms to clock buyout and distressed deals at attractive valuations in India. “An increasing number of investors are now scouting specifically for buyout opportunities keeping in mind the pros and cons that such opportunities offer,” Darius Pandole, managing director and CEO, Private Equity and Equity AIFs at JM Financial, told us in an interview.

Japanese investor Mitsui & Co is set to double down on its interests in the healthcare sector – a small, but promising part of its global business. We trace the journey of the trading conglomerate and investment house as it diversifies to sectors that offer the potential for significant growth.

The stage in Malaysia is set for a battle among video streaming players eyeing the massive content-hungry audience in Southeast Asia. We bring you an in-depth view of the over-crowded market that has seen Chinese streaming giants Tencent and iQIYI muscle in, striking partnerships and hiring top executives to chart growth in the region.

In the same space, we had this story on how Visinema Pictures, an Indonesian entertainment firm, has sent a legal notice to iflix for pending licence fees. We have been tracking developments following the acquisition of iflix assets by Chinese tech giant Tencent in June, including how the deal had ticked off iflix’s minority shareholders and vendor partners.

Data stories

Indian startups raised $1.41 billion through 194 venture capital and private equity investments in the second quarter, down 68 per cent from the first quarter this year, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia. While the impact of coronavirus on startup funding is unlikely to wither away anytime soon, investors continue to loosen wallet strings for financial services, education, and software startups.

China’s venture capital investments in Southeast Asia dived 83 per cent to $272.9 million in the first half of this year on the back of challenges in cross-border dealmaking due to the virus and a lack of mega-rounds in the second quarter.

Catch up on our weekly deal monitors where we capture major transactions in Greater China and India.

COVID-19 ripples

Vietnam’s fashion e-commerce firm Leflair and ClassPass-like startup Wefit became the first funded startups in the country to announce bankruptcy following the coronavirus outbreak. We bring you an in-depth story on what went wrong.

Dutch impact investor FMO committed a total of $33.3 million in July to businesses that operate in Asia’s developing economies that are expected to be hit hard by the pandemic. FMO committed capital to North Haven India Infrastructure Fund, Indonesia’s Mandarin Overseas Robotics Enterprise, and Myanmar’s Maha Agriculture Public Company and MFI Proximity.

Myanmar-based travel and transport tech firm Oway is counting on its new grocery delivery business line, Oway Fresh, to offset the impact on its ride-hailing operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exit score

Vietnam-based asset manager VinaCapital and Tokyo-based Daiwa PI Partners have divested their remaining stake in Hanoi-headquartered International Dairy Products to an investor consortium led by local consumer goods and dairy-focused investor Blue Point.

In another exit in the region, private equity firm Navis Capital has sold its entire stake in Malaysian IT firm Strateq to a unit of Singapore-listed telecommunications company StarHub.

Lastly, we leave you with the video and full transcript of our recent webinar featuring East Ventures co-founder and managing partner Willson Cuaca who shared his perspective on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on deal-making.

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.