SPH Media Fund backs new US venture fund

The fund, Fika Ventures, set up by Singaporean Zhuo Tianxiang (left) and two partners, Ms Eva Ho (centre) and Mr Arteen Arabshahi, will focus on US technology start-ups in enterprise software, financial technology, marketplaces and digital health.
The fund, Fika Ventures, set up by Singaporean Zhuo Tianxiang (left) and two partners, Ms Eva Ho (centre) and Mr Arteen Arabshahi, will focus on US technology start-ups in enterprise software, financial technology, marketplaces and digital health. PHOTO: FIKA VENTURES

A new United States-focused fund worth around US$40 million (S$57 million) has been launched by a Singaporean-founded investment vehicle to help entrepreneurs and start-ups grow.

The fund, Fika Ventures, set up by Singaporean Zhuo Tianxiang and two partners, will focus on US technology start-ups in enterprise software, financial technology, marketplaces and digital health.

It is backed by US-based investors such as Cross Creek Advisors and Knollwood Investment Advisory, as well as some prominent local players, including Singapore Press Holdings' corporate venture arm SPH Media Fund; Poems, a unit of PhillipCapital; and CWT chief executive Loi Pok Yen.

Mr Zhuo, 33, said Fika Ventures is focused mainly on seed-stage or growth companies because "we want to be the first institutional check-in - leading and backing founders often before others recognise and understand their vision and potential".

"We have the most fun helping founders get their ideas and companies off the ground. Our greatest strength is helping companies move from ideation to execution, and finding the product market fit that can then be scaled via future rounds," he told The Straits Times.

He said Fika will invest largely in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area, while "opportunistically making a few bets in burgeoning markets like Seattle and New York", as many tech innovations will still come from the US.

The fund has already made three investments - two linked to enterprise software and one in fintech.

"I'm so excited that I can play a small role in helping Singapore companies to access some of the best technologies in the US and to bring back that DNA and innovation mentality to help them be global tech leaders," said Mr Zhuo.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2017, with the headline 'SPH Media Fund backs new US venture fund'. Print Edition | Subscribe