#Asia Ardent Capital merges venture portfolio with Wavemaker; Ardent Labs to remain


Ardent Labs companies like aCommerce and Orami will remain under Ardent management, CEO Adrian Vanzyl to join Wavemaker


Bangkok-headquartered VC firm, Ardent Capital, announced today it is merging its fund of venture investments into Wavemaker Partners, with the later taking day-to-day management of the portfolio.

While Ardent CEO Adrian Vanzyl was unable to disclose the financial details of the merger, he did point out to e27 the value of Ardent’s total assets is over US$350 million.

So it’s a reasonable chunk of money,” he said. 

Furthermore, as part of the deal, Wavemaker is re-investing in the Ardent holding company in Hong Kong — a move with a certain symmetry as five years ago Wavemaker was the first firm to invest outside money into Ardent.

Vanzyl will join Wavemaker as a Venture Partner.

“We are very very deeply intertwined with these guys, both emotionally and also financially as joint shareholders. We really like these guys a lot,” said Vanzyl, referring to Wavemaker.

Vanzyl said the merger will not affect employment.

The Ardent Capital holding company is incorporated in Hong Kong and contains two separate models under one umbrella. Ardent Ventures is a traditional VC-style investment firm in which the company pursues minority-share stakes in early-stage companies.

Recognisable portfolio companies include Salestock (fashion retailer), HappyFresh (grocery delivery startup), Goxip (fashion discover app), Deliveree (last-mile logistics) and Floship (international logistics).

The other branch is Ardent Labs, which Vanzyl said will remain under Ardent Capital’s hands-on management approach.

“So if you look at our main assets in Ardent, they come in Ardent Labs, which means we conceived of the idea, funded it 100 per cent and put in the management team. Similar to Rocket [Internet], we create companies…These are things we actually created ourselves and we are very very hands on in their management,” he said.

Also Read: [Updated] Orami is raising another round of funding, set eyes on acquisition

For example, Thailand’s aCommerce is an Ardent Labs company that has completely taken off and is now a regional leader in the B2B eCommerce space. Other recognisable Ardent Labs companies are Orami (the women-focussed e-commerce platform) and Bizzy (an SME focussed eCommerce service provider).

“We ran those two models very successfully side-by-side for the last five years. And we did that because in the early days when an ecosystem is not mature, you really want to be hands on,” said Vanzyl.

He went on to explain that the logic for today’s merger announcement is because over the past few years the ecosystem has developed, and traditional VC investing in Southeast Asia is no longer at the frontier-stage. So, by splitting Ardent Labs and Ardent Ventures, both parts of the business can be managed appropriately.

“On the venture side, we have about a dozen companies that are going through their Series A and B [rounds] and they need access to a whole team of venture professionals. They need access to a network of investors and we thought, given how closely we have worked with the Wavemaker guys, if we tapped into their network and their relationships and their portfolio companies, that would be a real win-win,” said Vanzyl.

Speaking of Wavemaker, the VC firm has had three notable exits in the past 12 months — Luxola was bought by the conglomerate LVMH, YelloMobile purchased GushCloud and Pie was acquired by Google.

“We are confident that Ardent’s portfolio will yield many more,” said Paul Santos, Managing Partner at Wavemaker.

The Wavemaker network to be tapped is one of the largest in Southeast Asia — especially when the Los Angeles branch is brought into consideration. Today’s news will bring its portfolio size to above 60 companies just in the region.

Ardent portfolio companies will be able to tap into the US market as Wavemaker has a presence across the Pacific. Also, notable Venture Capitalist Tim Draper is an investor in Wavemaker and the merger opens up “an entirely new network of sibling partnership opportunities”.

Also Read: To Bandung and Surabaya we go: aCommerce puts expansion plan to action

Zooming out, Vanzyl was notably enthusiastic about what today’s merger means for Southeast Asia — seeing it as a sign that, for the first time, the region has a venture landscape that is approaching critical mass.

“When we have portfolios of 60-65 companies, that is pretty big. That is not messing around anymore. So for Southeast Asia to have funds that are at critical mass, that is a pretty big deal and it means we are no longer the poor cousins to China, India and the US,” he said.

“We really have an ecosystem that is real, fwe are not mucking around anymore. So for me, that is pretty exciting.”

Disclaimer: Ardent Capital is an investor in Optimatic Pte Ltd, the parent company of e27.


The post Ardent Capital merges venture portfolio with Wavemaker; Ardent Labs to remain appeared first on e27.

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