Korea Investment Partners closes maiden SE Asia fund at $60m

Korea Investment Partners closes maiden SE Asia fund at $60m

Synclair Kim, head of KIPSEA

Korea Investment Partners Southeast Asia (KIPSEA) has closed its first Southeast Asia venture capital fund at $60 million, according to an announcement on Monday.

KIP Southeast Asia Venture Fund I has attracted investments from institutional investors across South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore, including Samsung Life Insurance, Korea Development Bank, Korea Growth Investment Corporation, D.camp, Woomi Global, Mirana Ventures, and Korea Investment & Securities Asia.

The fund will be dedicated to investing in seed to Series B, high-growth technology startups in Southeast Asia, with a small proportion reserved for South Korean companies looking to expand into the region. It will be focusing on sectors such as fintech, proptech, and enterprise software.

Synclair Kim, head of KIPSEA, said the company aims to leverage KIP’s global coverage of VC investments in advanced economies and draw from valuable experience to spot and partner with high-potential digital businesses in emerging SE Asia. 

“The SE Asia market has displayed tremendous resilience and momentum coming out of the global COVID pandemic and has proven itself to be one of the world’s fastest-growing digital economies,” he told DealStreetAsia.

“Underpinned by strong macroeconomic factors and the development of technological and digital capabilities within the region, Southeast Asia remains a key target market for KIP. We aim to utilise KIP’s strategic networks and the strength of its ecosystem to identify and nurture early-stage, high-potential, and category-defining companies across the region,” Kim said.

KIPSEA is a part of Korea Investment Partners (KIP), which was incorporated in 1986 and is one of the largest venture capital firms in South Korea with over 900+ investments and more than $3 billion in assets under management. Some of its notable portfolio companies include Kakao, Naver, and YG Entertainment from South Korea; and Halodoc and Tiki.vn from Indonesia and Vietnam, respectively.

KIP is a subsidiary of the publicly listed Korea Investment Holdings, a financial conglomerate with multiple financial verticals including securities, asset management, banking, credit finance, private equity, and real estate.

KIP first established its foothold in Southeast Asia with the launch of the GEC-KIP Technology and Innovation Fund in 2018, with its headquarters in Singapore, and has been actively deploying capital to promising startups within the region.

Kim said that he saw an increasing demand from South Korean companies to participate in the growth of SE Asia’s digital economy where opportunities arise due to the skilled talent pool, rising incomes, and thriving technology ecosystem.

There is significant interest in collaboration with local SE Asian companies to create value through a combination of cross-border expertise and local market awareness, he added.

So far, KIP’s investment coverage spans all SE Asian markets, with an emphasis on the ASEAN-6 countries. In particular, it finds Indonesia interesting because of its market potential, vibrant startup ecosystem, and talent supply, accelerated by the first generation of startup successes in the country.

Besides KIPSEA, SV Investment, a private equity-venture capital firm headquartered in Seoul, has also invested in Indonesia. SV Investment recently collaborated with Indonesia- and Southeast Asia-focused VC firm East Ventures for a new fund with a target corpus of $100 million.

The fund aims to open the investment corridor between the Southeast Asian and Korean venture ecosystem, including capital investment, knowledge transfer, and network sharing, according to a press release. It will invest across several key sectors or industries such as biotech & healthcare, future mobility, green technology, media & content, and others, the release added. 

Edited by: Joymitra Rai

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