More money pours into Singapore venture capital as Wavemaker closes US$66m fund

Singapore is gaining more prominence as a hub for technology investments. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Wavemaker Partners has closed a US$66 million (S$89.4 million) investment fund for Southeast Asia, marking an exceptional stretch for Singapore in which three venture capital firms completed fundraisings in the city within a single week.

Wavemaker exceeded its initial target of US$50 million by drawing a range of backers including Temasek Holdings, American venture capitalist Tim Draper and the World Bank's International Finance Corp. This is the firm's second fund for Southeast Asia.

While many venture firms in the region focus on consumer internet startups, Wavemaker has built expertise in the unglamorous world of business-to-business companies. Paul Santos, Singapore-based managing partner, concentrates on corporate software and hardware companies. Wavemaker sold a mobile advertising startup to Xurpas Inc. for about US$45 million last year and Alphabet Inc's Google acquired its portfolio company Pie, a Singapore-based chat app.

"We believe Wavemaker's differentiated focus on B2B and deep tech will help create new, disruptive innovations," said Pravan Malhotra, IFC's venture capital lead for Southeast Asia and Asia internet investments.

Singapore is gaining more prominence as a hub for technology investments. This week, the city's Vertex Ventures completed its biggest fundraising yet with a US$210 million fund for Southeast Asian and Indian technology deals. Then Vickers Venture Partners, the Singaporean firm led by Finian Tan, raised a total of US$230 million for two funds.

Wavemaker's other startups include Structo, which makes 3D printers for dental applications, as well as Smartkarma, a marketplace for investment research, and Smove, which provides on-demand car rental services.

Santos said when he started investing in Southeast Asia, he connected with B2B founders and spent 80 percent of his time with them.

"Usually, they would have insights not many people would have and friends who will give them money," he said in an interview. "You can build sustainable businesses with less capital."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.