THE Sunway Group is expanding its foothold in the startup scene with the recent establishment of a new venture capital fund, Sun SEA Capital LP.
The conglomerate, via it’s wholly-owned subsidiary Sunway City Sdn Bhd, signed an Initial Exempted Limited Partner Agreement last week to set up the fund with a proposed investment of US$5mil.
This fund, as well as the subsequent investments, will enable Sunway to accelerate its digital transformation through investments into synergistic digital startups and conduct external fundraising to grow the startups.
With the initial investment, Sun SEA Capital, which has a planned fund size of US$50mil, will seek to provide scalable startups in South-East Asia and Hong Kong with access to Series A investments worth US$1mil-US$3mil per ticket size.
It will focus on startups in the online-to-offline convergence, enterprise solutions, logistics, digital media and entertainment, financial technology and digital health space.
Sun SEA Capital combines the expertise and resources of the diversified Sunway Group, as well as the vast network, experience and intuition of seasoned venture capitalists – Koichi Saito and Kuan Hsu, the fund’s consultants and directors as well as member of the fund’s investment committee.
Koichi Saito, formerly with IMJ Investment, and Kuan Hsu, formerly of GREE Ventures, had founded Singapore-based KK Fund in 2015. KK Fund has invested in 20 deals since its set-up, including Malaysia’s online marketplace for home services, Kaodim, Indonesia’s marketplace for furniture and designers, Fabelio, Thailand-based logistics marketplace, Gixtix, as well as Philippines-based micro lending service, Venteny.
“The signing marks the acceleration of our digitalisation efforts and the extension of our reach in the region. We hope to see Sun SEA Capital attract great talents from around the region to pursue sustainable growth with us. Koichi and Kuan’s experience and networks will help us widen our footprint in the region especially in Japan and Taiwan,” said Sunway Group president Datuk Chew Chee Kin.
Koichi Saito said that, with the initial funding, Sun SEA Capital will create a win-win situation for Sunway Group and startups in the region.
“Sun SEA Capital will help Sunway Group pursue new innovations by looking to invest in startups with technologies such IoT, artificial intelligence and blockchain towards the sustainability of its businesses.
“Essentially, Sun SEA Capital will provide a ‘plug-and-play’ scenario for the startups we invest in. They can plug into the powerful all-in-one ecosystem that Sunway has established and immediately play to grow. In addition, having the support of a conglomerate with financial strength also means that they have a clear and visible exit strategy,” he said.
“We have been operating in South-East Asia for some years now where we have built a vast network with corporations and potential investors. We were pleasantly surprised with Sunway’s corporate culture. From the top management, down to the working teams, Sunway’s will to embrace digitalisation is clearly evident. They have a very open mindset and have already been working and investing in startups,” he added.
Sun SEA Capital is the latest addition to Sunway Group’s digitalisation strategy.
Sunway Group had launched its own incubator and accelerator, Sunway Innovation Lab last year, as well as a corporate venture capital arm, Sunway Ventures, launched two years ago which focuses on early stage funding.
Besides financing, Sunway Education Group’s 12 education institutions and its global academic partners provide a ready talent pool for employment as well as research facilities and capabilities.