SE Asia’s East Ventures Looks To Back Startups With $88M Fund

Singapore-based early stage tech investment firm East Ventures has targeted a new fund intending on benefiting businesses hurting from the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reported.

The seed fund is for $88 million, and East Ventures has raised $57 million at first close from Adams Street and Pavilion Capital, a unit of Temasek Holdings Pte, among other investors, according to East Ventures Managing Partner Willson Cuaca.

In this venture, East Ventures is looking to replicate its prior successes from the backings of startups Tokopedia and Traveloka, two of the more successful ones from the area.

With the new venture, the money will go toward hopefully offsetting some of the financial damage incurred by firms after the shutdowns imposed by most governments, intent on slowing the spread of the highly infectious virus. As in the U.S. and other countries, this resulted in cut jobs and shifting business models to help accommodate the downturn in the economy.

But Cuaca preferred an optimistic outlook.

“It is easier now to filter good entrepreneurs as we saw how many entrepreneurs handled this COVID-19 crisis,” Cuaca said, according to Bloomberg. “Crisis brings clarity.”

This will be East Ventures’ eighth fund since forming in 2009.

Earlier this year, Southeast Asia led the pack in terms of funding for FinTechs. PYMNTS reported that funding from the region ended up winning big for companies like ride-hailing firm Grab, which announced $856 million in funds, and point-of-sale solution Bharat, which brought in $75 million.

Grab said it intended to use its funding to continue bolstering its expansions in the Southeast Asia region while also expanding into more financial services.

Elsewhere in Southeast Asia-based investment news, SoftBank in January offered to invest $40 billion in a new Indonesian capital city intended to be on Borneo Island. The idea was to create a reprieve from the pollution and over-crowding on Jakarta.



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