In a further sign of the increasing maturity of Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem, a new fund has arrived to offer yet more financing options for emerging tech companies. Venturra Capital is a big-hitting $150 million fund announced this week that is focused on the region, where mobile internet adoption is rising rapidly across a cumulative population of over 600 million.
Venturra Capital, which is based out of Jakarta, Indonesia, sure has notable credentials. Its three founding partners have impressive track records: Stefan Jung was founder and MD of Rocket Internet Southeast Asia and formerly of VC firm Monks Hill Ventures; Rudy Ramawy was Google’s first country manager in Indonesia and is an active angel investor; while John Riady is director of the Lippo Group, an Indonesian super-conglomerate with more than $15 billion in business assets. The group is increasingly moving into digital, and, under Riady’s tutelage, it has spent a reported $500 million developing its own e-commerce business in Indonesia.
The Lippo connection is strong with Venturra Capital. The group is the fund’s largest LP. Indeed, Venturra Capital is taking on the portfolio companies from Lippo Digital Ventures, the conglomerate’s investment arm, but the founding partners stressed to TechCrunch that the fund will operate autonomously.
“We’re very much an independent fund, and we look at investments independently,” Ramawy said in an interview. “Some [of our portfolio companies may] compete with Lippo businesses or have no connection, others are synergistic…. which can be an extra advantage for us to help scale and help entrepreneurs.”
(Left to right) Venturra Capital’s founding partners John Riady, Rudy Ramawy and Stefan Jung
Seed, Series A And Series B
Venturra Capital, which follows new Southeast Asia-focused funds from Golden Gate Ventures ($50 million) and Jungle Ventures ($100 million), has raised its $150 million float in full already, Jung confirmed. The fund is pretty flexible in its focus. The team is anchored in Jakarta but it will invest in startups across a range of verticals, in various markets in Southeast Asia and at Series A/B and early/seed stage, too. Furthermore, it will assess opportunities with companies from further afield that have business potential in Southeast Asia.
“Our themes are broad, and include e-commerce to fin-tech, healthcare, and education. We’re primarily looking at consumer businesses, but there are bigger opportunities in the B2B space, too,” Jung told us.
“We are stage agnostic,” German Jung, who is also a co-founder of Instacart-like HappyFresh, added. “If we believe in the founder and business idea, we want to be working with them as soon as possible… we are willing to write the first check. We’re also in a position where we can lead Series A/B deals. We can write $2/3 million checks, but can also follow on and participate in later rounds.”
That focus on Series A and Series B deals is important. It wasn’t so long ago that gathering investors and financing to cover such deals in Southeast Asia was difficult — to the point that corporates had stepped in to bridge the gap — but Golden Gate Ventures, Jungle Ventures, Monks Hill Ventures and now Venturra Capital are among the newly emerged firms capable of writing larger checks, and providing the requisite mentoring and business networks for startups.
The Venturra Capital fund is expected to run for four years. Half of the money is devoted to follow-on deals with portfolio companies, the founding partners added.
Startups Skyrocket In Southeast Asia
Unsurprisingly, the founding partners of Venturra Capital are hugely optimistic about the direction that the startup ecosystem is headed in Southeast Asia, and how things have developed over the past few years.
“I’m super duper excited,” Ramawy said. “The growth and penetration of Internet and mobile has skyrocketed… [while there are] lots of inefficiencies and infrastructure issues. In countries where things are not as efficient, technology really fundamentally changes the way people do things, that’s where value is being created.”
“The puzzle pieces have come together in terms of investors, quality of entrepreneurs, and co-working spaces, accelerators and mentorship,” Jung added. “Those didn’t exist three years ago, and it’s quite impressive how it has grown.”
Venturra Capital has quietly completed 10 deals across Southeast Asia, details of which the partners said will be revealed soon. The team has already hired two fund managers, and Jung said it is closing to adding a third as it bids to fill out its team. There’s likely to be a lot more to come from his new addition to Southeast Asia’s VC set.