Rich returns - and an award - for venture capital firm

Mr Chris Loh (left), partner of Axiom Asia Private Capital and a member of the judging panel, with Jungle Ventures chief financial officer Vaishali Cooper (centre), and analyst Alice Besomi at the SVCA awards on Thursday.
Mr Chris Loh (left), partner of Axiom Asia Private Capital and a member of the judging panel, with Jungle Ventures chief financial officer Vaishali Cooper (centre), and analyst Alice Besomi at the SVCA awards on Thursday. PHOTO: SINGAPORE VENTURE CAPITAL AND PRIVATE EQUITY ASSOCIATION

A Singapore-based venture capital firm reaped a return of more than 11-fold on its exit from an investment in an online travel booking platform.

The icing on the cake was that the firm was also given an award for it.

The Singapore Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SVCA) praised Jungle Ventures for "its impressive returns" in the deal and named it the Best Exit of 2015 on Thursday.

The firm, which focuses on technology start-ups, invested in Japan-based Voyagin in March last year and sold its stake to Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten in June.

REWARDING INVESTMENT

We were the lead investors in Voyagin and this was a National Research Foundation-supported investment, so it's hard to share exact details... But we achieved more than 11 times returns on this investment due to our early insight and support from the foundation.

MR ANURAG SRIVASTAVA, co-founder of Jungle Ventures

Rakuten had acquired a majority stake in Voyagin - of more than 50 per cent - for an undisclosed acquisition sum, which was said to be over US$3.48 million (S$5 million).

Jungle Ventures had looked at more than 10 companies in the travel concierge space, and found that Voyagin had the best solution and best team, said co-founder Anurag Srivastava in an e-mail interview with The Straits Times.

"We were the lead investors in Voyagin and this was a National Research Foundation-supported investment, so it's hard to share exact details," he said.

"But we achieved more than 11 times returns on this investment due to our early insight and support from the foundation."

Other than not wanting to pass up a good offer, Jungle Ventures had decided to exit as Voyagin's founders felt that they could scale the travel platform through its partnership with Rakuten, which is Japan's top online travel agent with over US$4.88 billion in revenue last year.

This was Jungle Ventures' third exit in its US$10 million fund raised in 2012. It had sold off its stake in Indian mobile phone marketing start-up ZipDial to Twitter early this year and exited from Singapore-based start-up Travelmob when Nasdaq-listed Home- Away acquired a majority stake in 2013.

"All our exits are strategic in nature," said Mr Srivastava, adding that these start-up firms have all been acquired by global public-listed giants who were looking to expand in new markets.

The venture capital firm recently announced a US$100 million second fund, and its focus will remain in finding "category-dominant" Asian start-ups in sectors like fintech, e-commerce, and "other traditional spaces where the Internet is disrupting, such as health, real estate as well as food and hospitality".

At SVCA's 6th annual awards held at the Shangri-La Hotel, it also gave Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) the Private Equity Deal of 2015 award for its investment in bulk container maker Goodpack.

"The size, complexity and competitive nature of the investment distinguished it from its peers," said the association.

The Venture Capital Deal of 2015 award went to to General Atlantic and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan for their investment into Garena Online, an online and mobile entertainment platform based in Singapore since 2009.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2015, with the headline 'Rich returns - and an award - for venture capital firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe