Having already invested in five companies, the fund targets a wide-range of sectors, including travel, Muslim innovation and fintech
Shanghai-based early-stage VC firm Gobi Partners and the Malaysian government’s firm, Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP) have announced today the launch of a new US$14.5 million fund — the second partnership of its kind between the two organisations.
Named, ‘The Gobi MAVCAP ASEAN SuperSeed Fund’, the goal is to make 25-30 deals with the average size of about US$500,000 across Southeast Asia.
As the name implies, it will focus on seed-stage funding but will do some Series A investments.
“We generally welcome any good entrepreneur to come to us to pitch the idea. We do want to invest in companies that are scaleable, that can go over multiple markets — especially when we have the strength of being from China and having a local presence. We want to talk to more entrepreneurs,” Victor Chua, Gobi Partner Investment Manager told e27.
The funds focus will be on Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia but will also venture into other countries in the region should the opportunity present itself.
Chua will be the investment director, making deals while Gobi Managing Partner Thomas G. Tsao and Partner Kay-Mok Ku, along with MAVCAP CEO Jamaludi Bujang, oversea operations as fund managers.
Gobi has been in the news quite a bit recently, but now the plethora of individual startup investments have more context because a portion of the rounds hitting the press were coming out of the SuperSeed fund.
In total, five deals have been publically disclosed — Nuren Group (Malaysia), OffPeak (a Malaysian company that has received two separate investments from Gobi) , RecomN/Sejasa (in Malaysia and Indonesia) Triip.me (Vietnam) and YouthsToday (Malaysia).
For Chua, a major reason Gobi has been making noise of recent is because it wants be a leader in improving the startup ecosystem. He said he is curious to see how VCs in the region can come together to lift the industry as a whole.
“It is important to let the Founders out there know who can help them. If you are a green entrepreneur you might not know who to reach out to,” he said.
MAVCAP and Gobi have worked together before. In September 2015 the two organisations announced a US$50 million to invest in Series A deals across ASEAN.
Plus, Gobi’s ties in the region go deeper.
In 2010 it set up its first regional fund called Gobi ASEAN which was backed by Malaysia’s Media Development Authority. According to Gobi, the eight portfolio companies in that fund generated US$150 million in revenue in 2015 and employed 1,300 people.
For the current fund, the type of companies sought after will cover a wide-ranging spectrum — from IoT and e-commerce to Muslim innovation and fintech. Also, as the fund has already invested in travel and female-focussed products, those sectors are naturally right up Gobi’s alley.
And with the firms making 25-30 deals, Chua says he hopes it will lead to a far-reaching network for the companies.
“I would like companies to work together like a family, every startup is a cousin to each other. [The goal is to] create value amongst each other. So they can share the learnings amongst one another. Go beyond the commonality they are both invested by Gobi,” said Chua.
Over the next nine to twelve months Chua says SuperSeed managers will obviously be investing, but they also want to focus on the growth of current portfolio companies.
MAVCAP is the largest VC firm in Malaysia, beside direct investments the company has partnerships with 500 Startups, Intres Capital, Elixir Capital and of course Gobi.
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