Editor's take: The week that was — Sept 12-17

The post-pandemic slowdown has started to take a toll on all verticals — from edtech, fintech and proptech to e-grocery and gaming. While Vietnamese proptech startup Propzy has started winding down operations, users in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand shared their frustration on social media after being unable to make purchases on e-grocery app HappyFresh last week.

Meanwhile, Singapore e-commerce behemoth Sea Group has rolled out a series of cost-cutting measures. Its leadership team will not be paid salaries until things turn around and it is adopting more stringent policies on business trips, transportation, meals, drinks and entertainment expenditure.

But it’s not all gloomy out there. Read on for more news from the PE-VC world…

The LP-GP way

Baring Private Equity Asia has announced the final close of its eighth fund at $11.2 billion, making it one of the largest private equity funds raised by an Asia-based private equity firm. The final close exceeded the firm’s initial target of $8.5 billion.

The State of Wisconsin Retirement Board (SWIB) has approved an aggregate of $150 million in commitments to funds managed by Hong Kong-based private equity investor Gaw Capital and US alternative investment firm Angelo Gordon.

Southeast Asian private equity firm Navis Capital is understood to have invested over $100 million in Dan-D Foods, a Canada-headquartered healthy nut producer with core sourcing and processing facilities in Vietnam.

Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO is considering an investment of $20 million in the fourth India-focused private equity fund of New Delhi-based impact investor Lok Capital.

Venture capital investor Lightspeed India Partners secured a capital commitment for its latest fund from the State of Michigan Retirement System as part of the US pension’s $2.3-billion allocations in the second quarter of this year.

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp is considering launching a third Vision Fund, likely using its own capital, Reuters reported. The fund’s size has not been finalised and will likely be launched early next year if the Japanese tech conglomerate decides to proceed.

Telstra Ventures, the venture capital arm of Australian telecom company Telstra, has announced the final close of its third VC fund at $350 million to invest in pre-growth and early growth companies.

Indonesia-focused venture capital firm AC Ventures has secured the first close of its $250 million, fifth early-stage fund. Roughly two-thirds of the target corpus has been raised from institutional investors across markets including Europe, the US, China, South Korea, and Southeast Asia.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to invest $15 million in Singapore-based private equity firm KV Asia Capital’s second fund.

Startup funding updates

Fintech startup Fazz, previously known as Fazz Financial Group, has raised $100 million in a Series C funding round comprising $75 million in equity from various investors and a $25-million debt facility from Lendable.

Indian electric mobility startup Yulu announced raising $82 million in a Series B funding round led by mobility technology company Magna International. DealStreetAsia had in August reported the startup’s fundraising talks with Magna.

Space tech startup Agnikul Cosmos Pvt Ltd, which was incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, is close to raising up to $20 million in its Series B funding round co-led by existing investor Mayfield India, according to two industry sources.

StashAway, a Singapore-based digital wealth manager, has raised $12.67 million so far in a Series D+ funding round, according to ACRA filings accessed by DealStreetAsia – DATA VANTAGE.

Nutrition Technologies, an agritech company headquartered in Singapore and operating in Malaysia, has raised $9.8 million in a Series A2 funding round led by Thai state-owned oil and gas company PTT, according to ACRA filings accessed by DealStreetAsia – DATA VANTAGE.

Pakistani fintech firm Neem has raised $2.5 million in seed funding to expand the reach of embedded finance to Pakistan’s underbanked communities, both individuals and businesses, per an announcement.

The scoops

As SoftBank top exec Rajeev Misra raises his own investment vehicle, equity deals are not something that he is keen to do. A key lieutenant of the Japanese behemoth’s billionaire founder Masayoshi Son, Misra is all set to scout for credit derivative opportunities in markets such as the US and Europe from his new fund, sources privy to the matter told DealStreetAsia.

Hong Kong-based investment manager PAG has acquired Australian food manufacturers Patties Foods and Vesco Foods for nearly A$700 million ($472 million) in total, according to a source familiar with the deal.

Close on the heels of gaining an 18.4% interest in Bank Amar, Indonesian SME lending platform Investree is looking to significantly enhance its stake and become a strategic partner in the local lender, according to its CEO and co-founder Adrian Gunadi.

The Indonesian government has finalised the contours of a new law that allows intangible property rights (IPR) —  including the social media content of digital marketers and influencers — to be used as collateral for taking loans. While there are still a few hurdles to cross, the rule is expected to be implemented before August next year.

Indonesian quick commerce platform Dropezy may have closed all 20 of its dark stores spread across Jakarta as part of a strategy to shift to an asset-light model, sources privy to the matter told DealStreetAsia.

Pharmacity, one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in Vietnam that is backed by SK Group and Mekong Capital, has announced the appointment of Tran Tue Tri as its new chief executive officer.

Southeast Asian gaming and e-commerce major Sea Ltd has finalised the acquisition of Indonesian general insurance player PT Asuransi Mega Pratama in a bid to expand its financial services play in the region’s largest market.

As many as 15 Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders have yet to meet the minimum equity requirements mandated by the country’s Financial Services Authority (OJK) in July this year. The OJK has urged the fintech lenders to meet the norms before the stipulated date of July 4, 2023.

Cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex is hopeful of resolving its debt debacle and says it can still help traders regain access to their virtual currencies that have been locked up on the platform since July.

M&A deals

Singapore’s GIC and private equity firm Oak Street, a division of Blue Owl Capital Inc, will buy commercial real estate investment trust Store Capital Corp in a deal valued at about $14 billion.

CapitaLand’s Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Ascendas REIT) will acquire a cold storage logistics facility in Singapore from A3 Lux Alpha S.a.r.l for S$191.9 million ($136.6 million).

BlackRock Real Assets, the realty investment arm of global asset manager Blackrock, has acquired solarZero, a New Zealand-based provider of solar, battery storage and energy services, in a deal worth more than NZ$100 million ($60 million).

CVC Capital Partners has invested in Vietnam-based Phuong Chau Trade and Investment JSC, the operator of the Phuong Chau-branded maternal and infant care hospitals in southern Vietnam.

New York-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus is in talks to invest around $150 million in Indian small-business lender Vistaar Finance, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The big interviews

It has been yet another busy year for Malaysia-headquartered private equity firm Navis Capital, both in terms of exits and new investments. All its exits were made to strategic investors. “We’ve always focused on trade buyers as the reliable source of exits,” Nicholas Bloy, co-founder and managing partner of Navis, told DealStreetAsia in an interview.

Singapore-based single-family office Golden Vision, backed by a member of a prominent Southeast Asian family, is looking to invite other family offices and ultra-high net worth individuals to pool capital and make investments in Southeast Asia, CEO and chief investment officer Sean Low told DealStreetAsia.

Asia-focused private equity secondaries firm TR Capital has set up an office in Singapore, with founder and CEO Paul Robine moving from Hong Kong to be based in the city-state.

While the bulk of its investments made so far is in China and India, Southeast Asia could soon make up about 20% of TR Capital’s business, Robine told DealStreetAsia in an interview.

The edtech scene in India may not look very promising at the moment, but its importance and viability cannot be underestimated as the demand for quality education in the world’s second most-populated country is huge. There will be an edtech 2.0 waveRocketship.vc partner Sailesh Ramakrishnan told DealStreetAsia in an interview.

Deep dives

Top Indian dealmakers are coming forward to set up their investment vehicles and back startups at a time when the so-called funding winter is staring at entrepreneurs across the globe.

According to investors, online grocery startups burning excessive cash are having a tough time navigating the competitive landscape in Indonesia’s booming fresh e-commerce market. Moreover, they said that existing players are struggling to retain market share at a time rising inflation threatens to reduce the purchasing power of many households.

The recent crypto selloff, which has wiped out nearly $2 trillion in market value from crypto stocks since their peak last November, has raised questions about the longer-term impact on crypto-related venture capital (VC) investments in Southeast Asia. Investors and analysts tracking the industry caution that the momentum is slowing, valuations are coming down, and crypto startups could face liquidity challenges ahead.

Earnings reports

Ant Group-backed payments platform 2C2P posted a marginal dip in group profit and revenue in 2021 but deepened its cash pile over the same period, per regulatory filings.

Southeast Asian fintech company Atome Financial, which operates buy now, pay later (BNPL) platform Atome and digital lending platform Kredit Pintar, more than doubled its profit in the financial year ended Dec 31, 2021.

Edtech firm BYJU’s, which was recently in the headlines for issues including layoffs at its subsidiaries, has reported a wider net loss and a drop in revenue in FY21, becoming one of the biggest loss-making unicorns in India.

Singapore- and India-based interior design startup Livspace reported a net loss of S$72.9 million ($51.7 million) in the financial year ended March 31, 2021, according to its latest regulatory filing.

And, last but not least…

Hope to see you all next week at DealStreetAsia’s Asia PE-VC Summit 2022 (Sept 27-28).

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