Temasek's venture arm Vertex to launch new Israel, US funds in 2018: CEO

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Vertex Holdings, the venture capital arm of Temasek Holdings, expects to raise two separate funds for investments in Israel and the United States in 2018 after deploying most of the capital of existing funds there, its chief executive said on Friday (May 26).

The funds will target a size of about US$150 million (S$207.6 million) each, the same size as the existing funds for those countries, Kee Lock Chua, group president and CEO of Vertex, told Reuters in an interview. "The funds will be about the same size, give or take 20 per cent," Mr Chua said on the sidelines of the China Private Equity Summit.

Besides the Israel and US funds, Vertex also has a US$250 million China-focused venture capital fund and another targeting India and South-east Asia with US$200 million, as well as a global healthcare fund. Temasek invests in each of the funds, which also take money from outside investors.

Cyber security will be a focus of the Israel fund, while the US fund will seek investments in enterprise and infrastructure-related software among other areas, Mr Chua said. In China, machine learning "is a big deal", he added.

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Vertex, one of the first investors in ride-sharing firm Grab, expects to continue to focus on consumer internet and software sector in South-east Asia, a region that could see a pick-up in activity in coming years, Mr Chua said.

"China clearly is still very vibrant, very hot and a lot of people are very active in that sense," Mr Chua added. "South-east Asia in the next few years will get a lot more attention, especially because all the governments... have been deregulating some of the industries to be more flexible to not be an impediment to this growth. You'll see more things going on."