VC Firm K2 Global Emerges to Bridge Asia, Silicon Valley

A Wall Street Journal article on K2 below:

January 08, 2016,

K2 Global is targeting more than $100 million for a new fund that aims to bridge Asia and Silicon Valley, investing in software, Internet and mobile companies in either Asia or the U.S. that are capable of expanding internationally and creating new markets.

The firm, which started in April and has partners in Silicon Valley and Singapore, is currently managing $50 million in assets and has already deployed most of that money, according to co-founder and General Partner Minal Hasan. K2 has made two late-stage secondary investments in pre-IPO companies, she said — one for $10 million and one for $26 million — although she declined to name any investments until the fund is closed.

K2 is backed by Asian investors, including wealthy individuals, family offices and some institutions who want to diversify their investments geographically or invest in tech. It is one of a few Silicon Valley venture firms working to create deep relationships in both the U.S. and Asia rather than just sticking to the U.S.

“The world is getting increasingly interconnected, and I don’t think most Silicon Valley VCs have really come to terms with that,” Ms. Hasan said. “…If you don’t have folks on the ground in Asia building the connections with entrepreneurs there and with strategics and large corporations, it will be very hard to be successful in investing in Asia and hard even…investing in a U.S. company that has aspirations to be a global player.”

Although K2 won’t name its limited partners, Bhupendra Kumar Modi, the founder of the Asian conglomerate Spice Global, has invested in K2, according to Forbes, which lists Mr. Modi as the 39th wealthiest person in Singapore, with a net worth of $615 million. A large, unnamed Asian company is a co-general partner in the fund, Ms. Hasan said.

Ms. Hasan, 33, grew up in Silicon Valley as the daughter of entrepreneur parents. She worked previously as a journalist for the San Jose Mercury News and then as a lawyer representing startups, including Uber Technologies Inc. and Square Inc. She met her co-founder Ozi Amanat, 37, when he contacted her for legal assistance as the chief investment officer of Spice Global and the CEO of Mr. Modi’s family office. The two ultimately decided to start K2.

In addition to seeking companies that can be successful in both the U.S. and Asia, K2 will do multiple types of investing, backing both startups and companies at later stages where employees may be seeking to sell shares. It is also considering buying an entire portfolio of investments from a current venture fund, Ms. Hasan said.

The goal is to return money to investors within a couple of years of each investment. “Traditionally, venture firms in Silicon Valley had a narrow idea of what they were looking to invest in and how to structure investments,” she said.

But K2 plans to be different, raising a fund that will be invested in five years instead of the traditional 10 years and pursuing a hybrid of primary, secondary and even private equity investing with the goal of beating competing venture firms on returns.