Southeast Asia’s enterprise capital house is booming proper now. Openspace Ventures just announced the close of its newest $135 million fund, Golden Gate Ventures hit the first close on its upcoming $100 million vehicle, and a 3rd Singapore-based fund can be elevating huge proper now: Qualgro.
Unlike others, Qualgro has operated comparatively below the radar to this point.
That’s been very deliberate, in accordance with managing associate Heang Chhor, who began the agency after leaving McKinsey following a 26-year stint that spanned Europe and Asia. Cambodian by delivery, Chhor grew up in France and he rose to turn into a member of the McKinsey Global Board, while additionally main the enterprise in Japan.
Prior to McKinsey, Chhor began a lot of companies — of which he says he received a modest exit however loads of expertise — and now he’s turning his consideration to Southeast Asia, the place rising web entry amongst a cumulative base of 650 million customers is opening up new alternatives for tech and web companies. The area’s digital economic system is forecast to cross $200 billion by 2020, up from an estimated $50 billion in 2017, according to a much-cited report from Temasek and Google.
Qualgro — which stands for ‘high quality’ and ‘development,’ in case you questioned — opened its doorways in 2015 with a maiden $50 million fund. Alongside Chhor is Jason Edwards, previously with PE agency Clearwater Capital and Peter Huynh, who joined from the Singtel Innov8 VC arm. To date, Qualgro has made 19 investments, which embody IP and data firm Patsnap, e-commerce startup Shopback, and lending platform Funding Societies.
The purpose is to super-size that with this new fund, which this week accomplished a primary shut of $60 million. The whole goal is $100 million. Qualgro didn’t touch upon the identification of its LPs, but it surely stated the elevated capital will see it additional its efforts on Series B offers.
The agency has targeted on Series A and B offers in Southeast Asia thus far with a main curiosity in b2b companies, and those who use knowledge, AI, enterprise and Sass fashions. Beyond that b2b specialism, the agency appears to differentiate itself by providing worldwide development alternatives to its portfolio. That’s to say that Chhor makes use of his networks the world over to assist Southeast Asia-based firms broaden into new geographical markets — particularly on points like organising workplaces and hiring — while additionally tapping his connections throughout the enterprise and enterprise worlds.
“As a Southeast Asia-based VC, we are looking for talented people that are able to grow their company regionally and potentially become a real global player. It’s a little bit difficult because as a Southeast Asian entrepreneur you need to have certain skills and be on the right business model to access the global world and compete successfully [but] we invest in this type of talent irrespective of their country in Southeast Asia,” Chhor advised TechCrunch.
That’s been most seen with its efforts in Australia to this point. For instance, Qualgro has labored carefully with Shopback to broaden its service into the nation. While Patsnap, too, has leveraged its investor to broaden into Europe, the place it has a sizeable operation along with its Singapore HQ.
But the strategic offers additionally movement the opposite means.
Qualgro is seeking to again firms that search the alternatives to maneuver into Southeast Asia. To date that has seen it get energetic within the Australian market, the place it has achieved extra offers that different Southeast Asian VC agency. Those embody Data Republic, which has expanded to Singapore with plans to transcend that, too.
Chhor defined that, past its present scope on Southeast Asia and Australia, the agency is open to pursuing offers with firms in markets like Europe and Japan when there are alternatives for Qualgro to come back in as a strategic investor assist develop companies and broaden networks throughout Asia.
Indeed, Qualgro’s give attention to worldwide is mirrored in its staff which consists of six individuals in Singapore with one in Australia and an advisor in Europe.