Start Singapore: Golden Gate Ventures raises $69m war chest

Golden Gate Ventures raises $69m war chest

Singapore-based venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures has raised a US$50 million (S$69 million) war chest to invest in e-commerce, e-payments and other start-ups.

An international mix of investors, including Singapore investment company Temasek, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Monitor Capital Partners, a European multi-family office, were among those putting up the funds.

Other partners include the National Research Foundation, Naver, the parent company of Line messenger service, and Far East Ventures, the venture capital arm of property developer Far East Organization.

Golden Gate Ventures managing partner Vinnie Laurie told The Straits Times that there are good start-ups waiting to be funded here and across South-east Asia.

"We've seen more details of emerging start-ups in the first half of 2015 than in all of 2013, and  that speed is only increasing.  We're also looking to write larger cheques."

He added that the number of deals and the investment climate in South-east Asia mirrors that of China in 2005 and India in 2010.

Golden Gate's research indicates that South-east Asia will emerge as a foreign investment destination next year. China start-ups are overpriced, making it expensive for VC firms to invest, although the situation is cooling down.

South-east Asian start-ups have lower valuations, which creates more opportunities for VCs to invest, added Mr Laurie.

Golden Gate, which started with a $10 million fund here in 2012, has made 25 investments.

It said in a statement that these start-ups have created over 500 new jobs in the region and are expected to generate more than $60 million in revenue this year.

Founding partner Jeffrey Paine said the firm has been fortunate in that it has had no failures.

"On the contrary, we've been able to bet on terrific entrepreneurs building high-growth companies like online grocer Redmart," he said.

Fintech start-ups refine their ideas at boot camp

A special boot camp has "polished up" 11 start-ups in preparation for investment.

The firms - the first graduates of the fintech (financial technology) accelerator called Startupbootcamp Fintech - pitched to about 50 investors last Wednesday.

Their businesses range from wealth management to crowdfunding, mobile payments, remittance and trade financing.

They include mobile payments provider Kashmi, share trading service ShereIt, security provider BankGuard and payment platform OnePay.

The 11 start-ups from here and across the region are seeking to raise from US$250,000 to around US$2 million each for technology development and business expansion.

The 100-day boot camp helped refine their business ideas and also involved mentoring by financial executives from Startupbootcamp's partners, which included DBS Bank, PwC and MasterCard.

DBS chief innovation officer Neal Cross said: "DBS' innovation strategy relies heavily on building and maintaining ecosystems that enable us to engage with and co-invent with new partners."

He added that the boot camp allowed the bank to bring the Asian start-up ecosystem and DBS staff together to interchange ideas and culture.

Mr Steven Tong, the managing director of Startupbootcamp FinTech, said the international teams also received significant feedback on regulatory issues from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Talk by minister on Smart Nation initiative

If you are interested in getting involved in the Smart Nation programme, you won't want to miss a talk by the minister in charge of the initiative. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan will share his thoughts on the programme and how start-ups can get involved in some of the activities.

The free event, organised by the Action Community for Entrepreneurship and Reta Social Enterprise, will be held at Block 79, Ayer Rajah Crescent tomorrow.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2015, with the headline 'Start Singapore: Golden Gate Ventures raises $69m war chest'. Subscribe