Vertex raises $315m for fourth fund

Vertex Venture Holdings raised US$230 million (S$315 million) in the first close of its fourth South-east Asian fund to back technology start-ups across the region and India.

The Singapore-based venture capital (VC) arm of Temasek plans to finalise the funding in the next few months, which could take it above the first close, said Mr Chua Kee Lock, managing partner of Vertex Ventures South-east Asia and India.

Most of the investors in its third fund, including Cathay Financial Holding, have backed the new one.

After the success of its bet on ride-hailing app Grab, now South-east Asia's most valuable start-up, Vertex plans to continue backing early-stage technology for financial services, enterprises and consumers in the region.

The net internal rate of return of its third South-east Asian and Indian fund, which started in 2016, was 45.2 per cent as of December, according to a presentation to investors.

"Our investors have shown confidence in us by participating in the first closing, which hit the initial target of the fund," Mr Chua said.

"The reality is that there are some concerns about the trade war and valuations, and the fundraising environment is getting harder."

Past Vertex investments include online shopping store FirstCry.com; InstaReM, a cross-border digital payment start-up; Validus, an online financing marketplace; and Binance Asia, a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

The VC firm got its start three decades ago and Mr Chua joined as chief executive officer of Vertex Venture Holdings in 2008 and expanded it into a global operation with US$2.5 billion under management, as of October.

Today, it manages portfolios in China, Israel, India, South-east Asia and the United States.

Jungle Ventures is currently raising a US$200 million fund, while Golden Gate Ventures has teamed up with South Korea's Hanwha Asset Management to raise a US$200 million fund.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2019, with the headline 'Vertex raises $315m for fourth fund'. Print Edition | Subscribe