SINGAPORE: Gobi Partners, one of the first Chinese venture capital firms to make inroads in South-East Asia, is looking to invest in as many as three dozen startups with a new US$14.5mil fund that will target emerging technologies.
Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd, the country's largest venture firm with US$300mil in assets under management, announced the SuperSeed Fund with Gobi yesterday.
They will seek to invest in 25 to 35 early-stage startups across South-East Asia over the next three years.
Gobi's interest in the region represents a broader appetite among investors who are seeking to capitalise on the region's rising incomes and mobile Internet boom.
The number of venture- backed deals in South-East Asia almost doubled to 71 in the fourth quarter of 2015, even as funding cooled across the globe, according to reports by KPMG and CB Insights.
Thomas Tsao, a managing partner at Gobi Partners, calls the hottest part of the region IPTV, for Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, a play on the acronym for Internet protocol television, or TV that's delivered via the Web.
Investors need to pay more attention to the four countries, which have more than 550 milTlion people, Tsao said.
“These are four huge consumer markets, and we call them the IPTV market,” Tsao said.
Gobi, which has backed 22 startups, divides the 10 nations in South-East Asia into three groups: mature markets such as Singapore and Malaysia, IPTV and a frontier market that includes Myanmar.
Gobi began turning to South-East Asia after noticing some of the Chinese startups in its portfolio, including photo- application Camera360, were seeing a surge in the number of customers in the region.
“We were like, ‘Wow, this is something we need to pay attention to,”’ Tsao said.
The Gobi-Malaysia venture fund will focus on Internet and mobile technology startups in areas including big data, cloud computing, content and digital media, e-commerce, financial tech, Muslim innovation and online tourism, he said. – Bloomberg