New private equity firm eyes tech start-ups in region

Growth equity investment firm Asia Partners has opened its doors in Singapore to focus on rapidly growing technology businesses in South-east Asia with pan-regional aspirations.

It plans to make investments in the US$20 million (S$27.4 million) to US$100 million range, or what is known as the "Series B or C gap" between early-stage venture capital and public capital markets, the private equity firm said yesterday.

The firm's five co-founders are Mr Nicholas Nash, Mr Oliver Rippel, Mr Pitra Ciputra Harun, Mr Kien Nguyen and Mr Vorapol Supanusonti. Its advisory board is chaired by Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, former president of Singapore investment firm Temasek.

Each co-founder has a combination of investment and operational experience, with some fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, Vietnamese and Thai, said Asia Partners.

Mr Nash, who is managing partner, was most recently group president of South-east Asia Internet firm Sea, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

He was previously the head for South-east Asia at growth equity firm General Atlantic, where he spent a decade as a growth equity investor, co-founded the Singapore office and led the firm's investment in Sea.

Mr Rippel, who is a partner, was most recently chief executive officer for all business-to-consumer e-commerce investment for Internet group and technology investor Naspers. He was also previously a senior executive with eBay for nearly a decade across South-east Asia, Europe and North Asia.

Mr Harun, who is director and Indonesia country head, was most recently head of digital goods at Indonesian e-commerce firm Bukalapak. He was previously with Patamar Capital and a member of Bain & Company's private equity group in South-east Asia.

Mr Nguyen, who is Vietnam partner, was previously an independent member on the board of Vinamilk, a Vietnamese consumer company. He also held remits at Temasek, OCBC Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Credit Suisse, and has been advising local and foreign investors in Vietnam investments since 2008.

Mr Supanusonti, who is managing director, was most recently a senior executive at Sea, and was previously an investor at private equity firm TPG, General Atlantic and Temasek.

Asia Partners' advisory board includes former United States deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, Wilmar International chairman and chief executive Kuok Khoon Hong, and Boswell Group founder and managing principal Kerry Sulkowicz.

Current and former executives of General Atlantic, Facebook, Capital Group, Google Asia Pacific, and non-profit organisation Room to Read, among others, also sit on the advisory board.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2019, with the headline 'New private equity firm eyes tech start-ups in region'. Print Edition | Subscribe