NSI Ventures, the Singapore-based VC firm affiliated with PE firm Northstar Group that invested early in ride-sharing unicorn Go-Jek, is going independent after it announced it has rebranded to Openspace Ventures.
NSI Ventures was started by Hian Goh, an entrepreneur who sold his startup Asia Food Channel in 2013, and finance exec Shane Chesson in 2014. The firm was initially conceived as the venture capital arm of Northstar, which manages some $2 billion in assets with a focus on Indonesia.
In a statement, Goh paid tribute to Northstar’s support but said that “the moment has come for us to bring Openspace Ventures to the next stage, as an independent, Southeast Asia-focused venture fund manager.”
Following its spin-out, Northstar Group co-founder and managing partner Patrick Walujo will become a senior advisor to the firm, providing “strategic advice” on investments in Indonesia.
Openspace is best known in Southeast Asia for its early investment in Go-Jek, the Indonesian ride-sharing company that is valued at over $4 billion and in the process of expanding across Southeast Asia. To date it has invested in 19 companies, including online fashion brand Love Bonito, roti bread maker Zimplistic, restaurant discovery service Chope, and digital insurance startup Axinan. It announced its second $125 million fund last December, a final close for which is expected this year.
The firm said that 12 of its 15 investment deals have since secured follow-on funding, with a total of $2.2 billion poured in. Much of that comes from Go-Jek, but even removing two recent rounds that total around $2 billion, leaves good numbers for the rest of its portfolio.
In fact, a recent report from investment tracker Prequin listed the firm as the third highest performing investment fund worldwide for those created between 2003-2015. That shows progress but the proof is in the pudding, and for VCs that means LP returns. Openspace, like others in exit-starved Southeast Asia, is yet to have a liquidation event despite making promising progress.