Eduardo Saverin — yes, the Eduardo Saverin of Facebook fame — is already a prominent investor in Asia, but his profile and spending is about to increase significantly after a new fund he is heading up made its first close.
B Capital is founded by Saverin, who swapped life in the U.S. for Singapore more than five years ago, and Raj Ganguly, a prominent investor who worked with Saverin on his previous Velos fund among other things. The new fund has closed an initial $143.6 million according to U.S. filings cited by The Wall Street Journal. In a letter to “friends of B Capital” obtained by TechCrunch, Saverin and Ganguly wrote that the first close has seen the fund pull in nearly 60 percent of its target money — that means it is likely to close out just shy of $250 million once fully stocked.
In the letter, Saverin and Ganguly explained their investing ethos, that innovation can come from anywhere. They said that there are focused on finding innovative companies and providing them with the resources and networks to develop.
In a blog post on LinkedIn, the B Capital founders echoed those sentiments, further explaining that the focus is on India and Southeast Asia because they believe that they can add significant value in these regions where key parts of the ecosystem are missing or underserved.
“Whether it is funding availability, stage, talent, institutions, or exits, the presence of such whitespaces in the ecosystem makes it equally challenging and rewarding for investors. We are very excited and bullish in the long run because we see the opportunity to bridge that gap and make a positive impact in a community of two billion people,” they wrote. (The whole post is well worth reading to understand the potential of emerging markets.)
In particular, they argued, there is a funding game from the Series B and Series C stages, which makes the already challenging growth phase of a startup all the more testing when there are fewer investors able to write checks and provide the kind of support necessary to scale a business.
B Capital may be deploying its capital in developing markets, but it has a presence in Silicon Valley after hiring Singaporean national Gavin Teo from Comcast Ventures to lead its San Francisco office. The fund’s main headquarters is in Singapore, and it has already invested in logistics firm Ninja Van, which recently closed a $30 million round, and digital health startup Evidation Health.