This new Southeast Asian fund has its eye on Chinese cross-border firms – ProWellTech
While US-China relations remain strained, Southeast Asia becomes the darling of investors and tech companies on both sides seeking overseas expansion. Behemoths like Google, Facebook, Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance have raided the region. Some opened stores, while others formed alliances and took shares in local startups.
Now five major investors from the region are ready to claim their share of the market. Singapore-based Altara Ventures debuted this week aiming to raise more than $ 100 million for its first fund focused on early-stage tech startups in Southeast Asia, with an eye on those with ties to the China.
The financial vehicle was co-founded by Dave Ng, former head of Eight Roads Ventures, the investment arm of Fidelity International, along with four other general partners. I’m Koh Boon Hwee, former president of DBS Group and Singapore Telecommunications; Tan Chow Boon and Seow Kiat Wang, who, together with Hwee, co-founded Omni Industries (acquired by Celestica) and subsequently jointly managed private equity investments; and Gavin Teo, former product manager of Xbox and Zynga and colleague of Ng of B Capital, a fund started by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
Altara derives from the English word “height” and the Bahasa word “nusantara”, the historical name for maritime Southeast Asia, a coinage that captures the company’s ambition to support early-stage startups in conjunction with technological progress of the region. The company considers sectors ranging from fintech, consumer, business software, logistics, healthcare to education.
What happened in the Chinese realm of the internet has become a source of inspiration for entrepreneurs in neighboring countries, and ideas flow from China to Southeast Asia in various ways.
“The first is about the Chinese founders who bring their experience from what they have done and acquired in China in Southeast Asia as a new market. They could be totally new startups that they co-founded with Southeast Asian entrepreneurs and together address white space opportunities here, ”Ng told ProWellTech.
“We also saw Chinese entrepreneurs being sent to the Southeast Asian region for the first time under tech giants like Alibaba and Lazada, Ant Financials and so on to get started on their own.”
The second type is of particular interest to Altara, as Ng believed the fund could “support and contribute to them with our experience, expertise and network in Southeast Asia”.
Furthermore, the investor is optimistic about the future of the Southeast Asian technology industry as the US and China enter “a bifurcation phase”.
“We believe that Southeast Asia will benefit from its position as a link between east and west. In the next 10-20 years we will see more talent and capital enter the region. “