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One of the regions that will lead the world into the next generation of financial technology innovation is Asia. Data suggests that investors poured $4.5 billion into FinTech companies in Asia in 2015, which is three times the amount attracted by their peers in Europe.
Asia, however, cannot be referred to as a homogeneous market since there are more than 20 countries in the region with own hallmarks and opportunities. Some of the most notable and massive markets noted as dominating the world of financial technology are China, Singapore and India. In fact, India is reported to be one of the fastest-growing startup environments in APAC region. The country has the second biggest startup ecosystem after China in deal size and number of deals.
But who exactly ensures the fertile ground for startups in the region and the leading position of Asia in the global FinTech scene? Let’s look at some of the most active VC funds supporting the startup ecosystem in Asia:
1823 Ventures is focused on mentoring and incubating up and coming startups in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Korea as well as venture capital fundraising and investment. Headquartered in Singapore, 1823 Ventures are actively looking for promising startups around the region including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Hong Kong, China and Korea.
500 Startups is a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator managing $200M in assets and having invested in 1300+ technology startups. Its early-stage seed fund and incubator program focused on consumer and SME Internet startups. The company’s areas of interest include financial services and e-commerce; search, social and mobile platforms; personal and business productivity; education and language; family and healthcare; and Web infrastructure.
Accel Partners has been committed to helping exceptional entrepreneurs build lasting, category-defining technology companies since 1983. Utilizing a focused, “prepared mind” approach to investing, the company partners with businesses that show potential for significant long-term success in specific sectors. Emphasizing synergy in its portfolio enables Accel Partners to offer the advantages of a cohesive, cooperative Accel community, including access to an extensive network of past and present entrepreneurs.
Alacrity Capital is a next-generation integrated venture capital firm based in Singapore that focuses on Pan-Asian-based startups which are passionate in developing commercially viable products and services encompassing new technology and innovation. For startups that are launched seed to series-A stage, Alacrity Capital aims to provide key investment from a pooled funding of angel and corporate investors.
Arbor Ventures is actively partnering with entrepreneurs and investors who are developing next-generation transactional solutions and seeks to transform today’s finance and data landscape through a combination of ingenuity and pragmatism. Lufax and DemystData are some of the notable FinTech companies in the portfolio.
Axiata is one of the leading telecommunications groups in Asia with over 300 million subscribers in ten countries. In 2012, Axiata established ‘Axiata Digital’ to capture the rapid growth in Internet-based businesses. Within three years, Axiata Digital has built a portfolio of 24 digital brands, servicing growing demands in mobile money, mobile advertising, e-commerce, entertainment and education.
In 2014, Axiata and Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP) have signed an agreement for the establishment of an RM100-million venture capital fund, the Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF). Representing the largest digital corporate venture capital fund in Malaysia, ADIF will encourage and spur the innovation and growth of Malaysia’s digital ecosystem.
Bigcolors supports and grows startups to make them the next superstar companies. They invest in seed funds and early-stage startups. Bigcolors has invested in companies like Connect, Kisshugs, Crux and Oddup. They also help startups grow by providing them strategy business development, financing and M&A expertise.
BlueHill Asset Management specializes in venture capital and private equity investments across strategic global markets. Based in Singapore, the management has been instrumental in raising funds of approximately S$470 million over the last four years.
Blume Ventures provides seed funding in the range of $50K–$250K to early-stage tech-focused/tech-enabled ventures. They are proponents of a collaborative approach and like to co-invest with like-minded angels and seed funds. They then provide follow-on investments to their stellar portfolio companies, ranging between $500K and $1.5 million.
Convergence Ventures is an early-stage technology venture fund focused on investing in Indonesia’s digital disruptors. The fund is led by Partners Adrian Li and Donald Wihardja who are seasoned professionals with extensive operating experience in the Internet and mobile businesses in emerging markets. Convergence leverages its industry insights, support services and global network to empower exceptional founders to build disruptive and impactful businesses for Indonesia and the South East Asia region.
CyberAgent Ventures is a venture capital firm headquartered in Tokyo. It has a presence in South Korea, China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam and invests in startups in those countries. The firm provides financial support for startups specializing in the internet businesses. “Operating under the theme of being a partner for entrepreneurs and venture companies, we actively finance venture companies at various stages from the seed stage where entrepreneurs are just starting up their businesses to the early stages where their services are starting to gain momentum.” The firm has 10 offices in 8 countries mainly in Asia, a region where rapid growth of the Internet market is expected.
Digital Media Partners is a venture capital firm focused on emerging markets that have recently joined the global digital transformation process. Digital Media Partners believe that the arrival of high connectivity, processing power and interactivity results in an explosion of digital services, some of which are very much like those seen elsewhere before, and some unique to their locale.
East Ventures aims to bring success to ventures by providing early-stage seed capital to promising startups. With a total of five offices in Jakarta, Tokyo, and San Francisco, the company’s global team has invested in over 150 companies across Asia and the US. East Ventures’ portfolio of companies focuses on commerce, social, game, SAAS, and mobile services.
“Our investment team consists of experienced professionals that allow us to provide a strong network across Asia. East Ventures actively involves in community development and capacity building via its coworking spaces called EV Hive in Jakarta and Tangerang (Indonesia), and Hive Shibuya in Tokyo (Japan).”
Fenox Venture Capital is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm founded by a team of seasoned entrepreneurs and international business leaders. Fenox VC works with emerging technology companies worldwide and specializes in assisting entrepreneurs in North America achieve global expansion in Asian, European and Middle Eastern markets. Fenox VC seeks to work with world-class management and technical teams that are targeting disruptive opportunities in IT, health IT, consumer Internet, cloud, big data, mobile, social, payment systems and next-generation technologies. Fenox provides early-stage and final-round funding and will also co-lead, follow and partner with other angel syndicates and venture funds.
First Eastern Investment Group
First Eastern Investment Group is a venture capital and private equity firm that specializes in the expansion stage. The firm seeks to invest in manufacturing, construction, financial and real estate industries. It prefers to invest in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. The firm typically invests between $1 and $10 million and a minimum annual sale of $12 million is required for all portfolio companies. It also looks for a seat on the board of directors and a minor stake in the portfolio company. Monitise and Tamoco are in the investment portfolio.
Continue exploring more VC Firms here.