Vertex Ventures closes new $210M fund for Southeast Asia and India

Jon Russell
Vertex Ventures, one of the VC funds that is linked to Singapore sovereign fund Temasek, has closed its third investment fund for Southeast Asia and India with a total of $210 million for investment.

Vertex Ventures, one of the VC funds that is linked to Singapore sovereign fund Temasek, has closed its third investment fund for Southeast Asia and India with a total of $210 million for investment.

Vertex Venture Holdings operates five funds across the world, which include vehicles focused on the U.S., Israel and healthcare. This is the third installment of its fund for India and Southeast Asia and, most notably, it is the first that the Southeast Asia-India fund has raised capital from outside investors.

Publicly-named LPs backing it include Thailand's Kasikorn Bank -- via its $30 million Beacon fund -- and Taiwan-based Cathay Life Insurance. Vertex managing partner Ben Mathias told TechCrunch that other backers included a "combination of Asian financial institutions and family offices primarily across Asia."

Some of Vertex's best-known investments to date include ride-sharing giant Grab, IP analytics firm Patsnap, streaming service M17/Paktor, and e-commerce firm Reebonz. The new fund will continue with same investment thesis across Southeast Asia and India, which primarily means Series A deals with follow-on, and some capital deployed first at Series B stage.

Mathias, the sole managing partner in India (there are two others in Singapore), said there's no hard allocation between India and Southeast Asia, with the firm typically looking at an average check size of $3 million. The fund's first close came back in November 2016, and it is likely to be another three years before it is fully deployed, according to Mathias.

The industries Mathias is particularly bullish about include industrial IoT, payments, AI in the financial sector and fintech, including applications that function as virtual ATMs, he said.

Bangalore-based Mathias is also upbeat about the window for exits more generally across both India and Southeast Asia, with Sea (formerly Garena) filing to go public in the U.S. and Razer testing the appetite for public listings in Hong Kong. Likewise, in India, online dating service Matrimony.com and consumer tech firm Dixon Technologies held successful local IPOs.

"The IPO market is very robust [and] we are also seeing a lot of M&A happening right now," he added.

That's led to healthy demand for the fund, which Vertex said was initially targeted at $150 million but subsequently raised to $210 million.

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