$120m venture fund set up for S-E Asian tech start-ups

A local fund management firm and a Korean company are launching a $120 million venture fund for South-east Asian tech companies.

The fund - called the GEC-KIP Technology and Innovation Fund - will invest in Series A and Series B high-growth start-ups with a "small proportion" reserved for South Korean companies looking to expand into the region via Singapore.

Its average investment will be between $2 million and $5 million, said Singapore-based Golden Equator Capital (GEC) yesterday.

The fund has 65 per cent committed capital and expects to fully raise the first phase by the end of August and the final portion by the end of the year, GEC added. Many institutional investors have invested as limited partners.

The fund's launch will give GEC's joint venture partner, Korea Investment Partners (KIP), a foothold in South-east Asia with Singapore as its headquarters.

KIP, a Seoul-headquartered venture capital and private equity firm, will base its staff at Spectrum, a tech and innovation business club at Duo Tower in Bugis. Spectrum was founded by Golden Equator Group, the parent company of GEC.

Spectrum is also home to the Korea-Singapore Healthcare Incubator, which was set up last September through an alliance between Golden Equator Group and a South Korean entity, C&R Healthcare, to help Korean healthcare businesses expand into South-east Asia.

Ms Shirley Chua, founder and group chief executive of Golden Equator Group, said: "With the continuous upgrade of the region's technological and digital capabilities as well as economic integration, there will be ample opportunity for growth and investments.

"We have always been at the forefront of establishing these connections between Singapore and Korea through our work with both the private and public sectors in Korea.

"We are positive that having Korea's leading venture capitalist as our partner will help create a stronger start-up ecosystem for Asia via cross-learning, knowledge transfer and network sharing."

KIP manages 41 funds with assets under management of US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion). It backs more than 120 companies every year, said GEC.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2018, with the headline $120m venture fund set up for S-E Asian tech start-ups. Subscribe