New Fund for Tech Deals in Southeast Asia Hits Final Close at $474 Million

A Southeast Asia-focused growth-equity investor has raised $474 million in the final close of its second fund, showing investors’ interest in the region even amid a global slowdown in initial public offerings and venture-capital fundraising.

Singapore-based Asia Partners Fund Management believes this decade will be a “golden age of entrepreneurship and innovation for Southeast Asia,” the firm’s cofounder and partner Oliver Rippel said Monday.

Rippel was previously chief executive of business-to-consumer e-commerce at South African media and internet giant Naspers, and before that, an executive working on Southeast Asia strategy for eBay.

Including the $384 million close of its debut fund in 2021, Asia Partners now has $1 billion in assets under management, the company said.

It typically targets investments in the range of $20 million to $100 million, aiming to capitalize on economic growth in a populous region with fast-growing digital connectivity.

More than 9% of the fund’s capital is from the company’s employees and advisory board members. Its limited partners include family offices along with institutional and individual investors across six continents.

The close comes amid a challenging environment for IPOs given volatile stock markets, the poor performance of many companies that have listed, and high interest rates offering investors attractive alternatives with less risk.

Venture markets are also down, while private equity is seeing its toughest period for fundraising since the 2007-09 financial crisis.

In Southeast Asia, private funding of companies has also sunk in recent years, according to a November report from Google, Singapore state-investment company Temasek Holdings and consulting firm Bain & Co.

Still, the region that is home to more than 600 million people is seeing its digital economy expand as consumers increasingly transact online.

Southeast Asia—spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—notched $100 billion in revenue across various digital-economy sectors last year, according to the November report. That was eight times the 2016 level.

“There remains significant headroom” in Southeast Asia, the report said, citing favorable demographics, growing wealth and an increasingly urbanized population.

Analysts say, however, that the region isn’t without challenges. It is highly diverse, with languages, consumer preferences and regulations varying across countries.

In 2022, Asia Partners led an $80 million round of investment in Singapore-based shopping and rewards platform ShopBack, and participated in a $38.8 million round of investment in Southeast Asia-focused telemedicine provider Doctor Anywhere.

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