Vynn Capital snags investment from Malaysia’s MAVCAP for its maiden Southeast Asia fund

Source: TechCrunch

Vynn Capital, a new entrant to Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem, is gearing up to close its maiden fund after it landed an undisclosed sum from Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd (MAVCAP) as one of its anchor LPs.

Founded by former Gobi  Ventures VC Victor Chua and Singaporean investor Darren Chua (no relation) one year ago, Kuala Lumpur-based Vynn is targeting a $40 million fund for Southeast Asia. The firm has already made four investments and, on the LP side, gone after traditional businesses and Southeast Asia’s family corporations. Landing MAVCAP — which is Malaysia’s largest investor and has backed VC funds including Gobi — is a major coup for a debut fund.

“The investment from MAVCAP is a very good validation for Vynn Capital,”  said Victor Chua,  who is Malaysian. “Personally, having been active in the local and regional ecosystem, I’ve benefited from the growth trajectory of the ecosystem and am now able to launch a new fund that is addressing the need of the traditional businesses to be innovative.”

“The thesis of the fund is Southeast Asia, but through our investment we are focused on how it will be invested in Malaysian deals,” MAVCAP’s Shahril Anas told TechCrunch in an interview. “We have some carry and expect returns that we can invest into local entrepreneurs in Malaysia, we are also keen to look at how other countries’ economies interact with startups.”

Anas said the approach is to be very hands-off; MAVCAP has various other fund investments, but he reiterated that there may be specific data or insight that the organization looks to glean.

Southeast Asia is emerging from the shadows of China and India to become a target market for startups and, by extension, the investors who write the checks to finance them.

Beyond a cumulative population of more than 600 million people, the region’s “digital economy” is tipped to grow to $240 billion by 2025 from $31 million in 2015, according to a report from Google and Singapore sovereign fund Temasek.

Some of the other investors vying for a slice of the opportunity include new funds from Openspace Ventures  ($135 million), Indonesia-focused Intudo ($50 million), Qualgro ($100 million), Golden Gate Ventures ($100 million) and Sequoia India ($695 million).

VCs give us their predictions for startups and tech in Southeast Asia in 2019

AI, fintech, funding trends and new unicorns are among the talking points

southeast asia map

The new year is well underway and, before January is out, we polled VCs in Southeast Asia to get their thoughts on what to expect in 2019.

The number of VCs in the region has increased massively in recent years, in no small part due to forecasts of growth in the tech space as internet access continues to shoot up among Southeast Asia’s cumulative population of more than 600 million consumers.

There are other factors, including economic growth and emerging middle classes, but with more than 3.8 million people becoming first-time internet users each month — thanks to smartphones — Southeast Asia’s ‘digital economy’ is tipped to more than triple to reach $240 billion by 2025. That leaves plenty of opportunity for tech and online businesses and, by extension, venture capitalists.

With a VC corpus that now numbers dozens of investment firms, TechCrunch asked the people who write the checks what is on the horizon for 2019.

The only rule was no more than three predictions — below, in no particular order, is what they told us.

Albert Shyy, Burda

Funds will continue to invest aggressively in Southeast Asia in the first half of this year but capital will tighten up by Q4 as funds and companies prepare for a possible recession. I think we will see a lot of companies opportunistically go out to fundraise in Q1/Q2 to take advantage of a bull market.

We will see two to three newly-minted unicorns from the region this year, after a relative lull last year.

This will (finally) be the year that we start to see some consolidation in the e-commerce scene

Dmitry Levit, Cento

A significant portion of capital returned by upcoming U.S. IPOs to institutional investors will be directed to growth markets outside of China, with India and Southeast Asia being the likeliest beneficiaries. Alternative assets such as venture and subsets of private equity in emerging markets will enter their golden age.

The withdrawal of Chinese strategic players held back by weakened domestic economy, prudent M&A by local strategics and ongoing caution among Japanese, Korean and global corporates, combined with ongoing valuations exuberance by late-stage investors allocating funds to Southeast Asia, will continue holding back large liquidity events. Save perhaps for a roll-up of a local champion or two into a global IPO. Fundraising will get more troublesome for some of Southeast Asia’s larger unprofitable market leaders. Lack of marquee liquidity events and curtailed access to late-stage capital for some will lead to a few visible failures (our money is on the subsidy-heavy wallets!) and a temporary burst of short-term skepticism around Southeast Asia as an investment destination towards the end of 2019.

The trend towards the emergence of value-chain specific funds and fund managers will continue, as digitalization is reaching ever further into numerous industry sectors and as Southeast Asia hosts an increasing portion of global supply chains. We foresee at least dozen new venture firms and vehicles emerging in 2019 with clear sector-led investment thesis around the place of Southeast Asian economies in the global value chains of fashion industry, agriculture and food; labour, healthcare services; manufacturing, construction tech and so on, with investment teams that have the necessary expertise to unravel this increasing complexity.

Willson Cuaca, East Ventures

Jakarta becomes Southeast Asia’s startup capital surpassing Singapore in terms of the number of deals and investment amount.

As Indonesia’s startup scene heats up, regional seed and series A funds move away from Indonesia and target Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines (in market priority order).

Southeast gets two new unicorns.

Rachel Lau, RHL Ventures

North Asian companies will provide well-needed liquidity as they withdraw capital from developed American and European markets due to the Federal Reserve’s actions. The FED raised interest rates and reduced the size of its balance sheet (by not replacing the bonds that were maturing at a rate of $50 billion a month). This has been seen in the recent fundraising exercise by Southeast Asian unicorns. Grab has recently seen an impressive list of North Asian investors such as Mirae, Toyota and Yamaha . A recent stat stated that 85 percent of the funding of Southeast Asia startups have gone to billion dollar unicorn such as Grab and Gojek, bypassing the early stage startups that are more in need for funding, this trend is expected to continue. Therefore, we will see early-stage companies and venture capitalists becoming more focused on generating cash flow from operating operations instead as fundraising activities become more difficult.

A growth in urbanization in Southeast will create new job opportunities in small/medium businesses, as evident in China. Currently, only 12 percent of Asia’s urban population live in megacities, while four percent live in towns of fewer than 300,000 inhabitants. New companies will see the blurred lines between brick and mortar businesses vs pure online businesses. In the past year or so, we have seen more and more offline businesses going online and more online businesses going offline.

Fertility rates in the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam exceed 2.1 births per woman — the level that sustains a population — but rates below 1.5 in Singapore and Thailand mean their populations will decline without immigration. As we see more startup activities coming to Southeast Asian countries, we expect to see more qualified foreign talent moving to the region vs staying in low growth American and European countries.

Kay-Mok Ku, Gobi Ventures

First Chinese “Seaward” Unicorn in Southeast Asia. In recent years, a growing number of Chinese startups are targeting overseas markets from the get go (known as Chuhai 出海 or “Seaward”). These Chinese entrepreneurs typically bring with them best practices in consumer marketing and product development honed by a hyper-competitive home market, supported by strong, dedicated technical team based out of China and increasingly capitalized by Chinese VCs which have raised billion-dollar funds.

Consolidation among ASEAN Unicorns. While ASEAN now boasts 10 unicorns, they are duplicative in the sense that more than one exists in a particular category, which is unsustainable for winner-takes-all markets. For example, in the ASEAN ride-hailing space, while one unicorn is busy with regional geographic expansion, the other simply co-exists by staying focused on scope expansion within its home market. This will never happen in a single country market like China but now that the ASEAN ride hailing unicorns are finally locking horns, the stage may be set for a Didi-Kuadi like scenario to unfold.

ASEAN jumps on Chinese 5G bandwagon. The tech world in the future will likely bifurcate into American and Chinese-led platforms. As it is, emerging markets are adopting Chinese business models based on bite-sized payment and have embraced Chinese mobile apps often bundled with cheap Chinese smartphones. Looking ahead, 5G will be a game changer as its impact goes beyond smartphones to generic IoT devices, having strategic implications for industries such as autonomous driving. As a result, the US-China Trade War will likely evolve into a Tech War and ASEAN will be forced to choose side.

Daren Tan, Golden Equator Capital

We are excited by growth in the AI and deep tech sectors. The focus has generally been on consumer-focused tech in Southeast Asia as an emerging market, but we are starting to see proprietary solutions emerge for industries such as medtech and fintech. AI also has great applicability across a wide range of consumer sectors in reducing reliance on manpower and creating cost savings.

Data analytics to uncover organizational efficiencies and customer trends will continue to be even more widely used, but there will also be greater emphasis on securing such data especially confidential information in light of multiple high-profile data breaches in 2018. Tools enabling the collection, storage, safe-keeping and analysis of data will be essential.

We are seeing the emergence of more institutional funds from North Asia. So far it has predominantly been Chinese tech giants like Tencent and Alibaba, now we are starting to see Korean and Japanese institutions placing greater emphasis on investment in the Southeast Asian region.

Vinnie Lauria, Golden Gate Ventures

Even more capital flowing from U.S. and China into Southeast Asia, with VCs from both locations soon to open offices in the region

A fresh wave of Series A investments into Vietnam.

Ten exits over $100 million.


Amit Anand, Jungle Ventures

The emergence of a financial services super app, think the Meituan or WeChat but only for financial services: The Southeast Asian millennial is one of the most underserved customer from a financial services perspective whether it is payments, consumer goods loans, personal loans, personal finance management, investments or other financial services. We will see the emergence of digital platforms that will aggregate all these related services and provide a one stop financial services shop for this digitally native consumer.

Digitisation of SMEs will be new fintech: Southeast Asia is home to over 100 million SMEs that are at the cusp of digital transformation. Generational change in ownership, local governments push for digitization and increased globalization have created a perfect storm for these SMEs to adopt cloud and other digital technologies at neck-breaking pace. Startups focussing on this segment will get mainstream attention from the venture community over the next few years as they look for new industries that are getting enabled or disrupted by technology.

Kuo-Yi Lim and Peng T. Ong, Monk’s Hill Ventures

Lyft and Uber  go public and show the path to profitability for other rideshare businesses. This has positive effect for the regional rideshare players but also puts pressure on them to demonstrate the same economics in ridesharing. Regional rideshare players double down on super-app positioning instead, to demonstrate value in other ways as rideshare business alone may not reach profitability — ever.

The trade war between China and the US reaches a truce, but a general sense of uncertainty lingers. This is now the new norm — things are less certain and companies have to plan for more adverse scenarios. In the short term, Southeast Asia benefits. Companies — Chinese, American etc — see Southeast Asia as the neutral ground. Investment pours in, creating jobs across industries. Acquisition of local champions intensifies as foreign players jostle for the lead positions.

“Solve the problem” – tech companies will become more prominent… tech companies that are real-estate brokers, recruiters, healthcare providers, food suppliers, logistics… why: many industries are very inefficient.

Hian Goh, Openspace Ventures

Fight to quality will happen. Fundraising across all stages from seed to Series C and beyond will be challenging if you don’t have the metrics. Investors will want to see a path to profitability, or an ability to turn profitable if the environment becomes worse. This will mean Saas companies with stable cash flows, vertical e-commerce with strong metrics will be attractive investment opportunities.

Investor selection will become critical, as investors take a wait and see approach. Existing or new investors into companies will be judged upon their dry powder in their funds and their ability to fund further rounds

The regulatory risk for fintech lenders will be higher this year, rising compliance cost and uncertainty on licensing, which would lead to consolidation in the market.

Heang Chhor, Qualgro

Southeast Asia: an intensifying battlefield for tech investments

There has never been so much VC money in Southeast Asia chasing interesting startups, at all life cycle stages. The 10 most active local and regional VCs have raised their second or third funds recently, amassing at least two times more money than a few years ago, probably reaching a total amount close to $1 billion. In addition, international VCs have also doubled down on their allocation into the region, while top Chinese VCs have visibly stated their intent not to miss the dynamic momentum. Several growth funds have recently built a local presence in order to target Southeast Asia tech companies at Series C and beyond. Not counting the amount going to the unicorns, there might be now more than $3-4 billion available for seed to growth stages, which may be 3-4 times the amount of three years ago. There are, of course, many more good startups coming up to invest into. But the most promising startups will be in a very favorable position to negotiate higher valuation and better terms. However, they should not forget that, eventually, what creates value is how they make a difference with their tech capabilities or their business model, how they acquire and retain the best talent, with the funds raised, not only how much money they will be able to raise. Most local and regional corporate VCs are likely to lose in this more intense investment game.

Significant VC money investing into so-called ‘AI-based startups’, but are there really much (deep) Artificial Intelligence capabilities around?

A good portion of the SEA startups claim they have ‘something-AI’. Investors are overwhelmed, if not confused, by the ‘AI claim’ that they find in most startup pitches. While there is no doubt that Southeast Asia will grow its own strong AI-competence pool in the future, unfortunately today most ‘AI-based’ business models from the region would still be just ‘good algorithms or machine learning’ that can process some amount of data to come up with good-enough outcomes, that do not always generate substantial business value to users/customers. The significant budget that some of the very-well-funded Southeast Asia unicorns are putting into their ‘AI-based apps’ or ‘AI platform’ is unlikely to make a real difference for the consumers, for lack of deep AI competences in the region. 2019 may be another year of AI-promise, not realized. Hopefully, public and private research labs, universities and startups will continue to be (much more) strongly supported (especially by governments) to significantly build bigger AI talent pool, which means growing and attracting AI talent into the region.

Bigger Series A and Series B rounds to fuel more convincing growth trajectory, towards growth-stage fundraising.

Although situations vary a lot: typical Series A in Southeast Asia used to be around $5 million, and Series B around $10-15 million. Investors tended to accept that normally companies would raise money after 18 months or so, between A and B, and between B and C. There has been an increasing number of larger raises at A and B recently, and very likely this trend will accelerate. The fact that VCs now have much more money to deploy into each investment will contribute to this trend. However, the required milestones for raising Series C have become much more around: minimum scale and very solid growth (and profit) drivers. Therefore, entrepreneurs will have to look for getting as much funding reserve as possible, irrespective of time between raises, to build growth engines that take their companies past the milestones of the next Series, be it B or C. In the future, we will see more Series A of $10 million and more Series B of well-above $20 million. Compelling businesses will not have too much difficulties for doing so, but most Southeast Asia entrepreneurs would be wise to learn to more effectively master fundraising skills for capturing much bigger amounts than in the past. Of course, this assumes that their businesses are compelling enough in the eyes of investors.

Vicknesh R Pillay, TNB Aura

Out-sized valuations will be less commonplace in 2019 as Southeast Asian investors learn from experience and become more sophisticated. Therefore, we do see opportunities at Series A/B for undervalued deals due to lack of early-stage funding while we expect to continue to see the trend of the majority of venture capital investments going into later stage companies (Series C and beyond) due to lower risk appetite and ‘herd’ mentality.

2018 has also seen the rapid emergence of many corporate venture capital funds and innovation programs. But, 2019 will see large corporations cutting back on their allocation towards startup investing which would be the easiest option for them in case of adverse news to the jittery public markets in 2019.

With the growth of AI, the need for API connections and increased thought leadership to embrace tech, Southeast Asia is going to see an upsurge in SaaS startups and existing startups moving to a Saas business model. Hence, we expect increased investments into Saas companies focused on IoT and cybersecurity as hardware data and software are moved onto the cloud.

Chua Kee Lock, Vertex Ventures

Southeast Asia VC investment pace has grown steadily and significantly since 2010 where it started from less than $100 million in VC investment in the region. For the first eight months of 2018, the region’s VC investment was over $5.4 billion. For the whole of 2018, it will likely end around $8 billion. For 2019, we expect the VC investment pace to surpass 2018 level and record between $9-10 billion. Southeast Asia will continue to attract more VC investments because:

(1) Governments in Southeast Asia, especially ASEAN, continue their support policy to encourage startups.

(2) young demographics and the fast technology adoption in Southeast Asia give rise to more innovative and disruptive ideas.

(3) global investors looking for a better return and will naturally focus on growing emerging market like Southeast Asia.

The trend towards gig economy will begin to have an impact in the region. In developed economies like the U.S, gig economy is expected to reach over 40 percent by 2020. The young population will look for more freelance opportunities as a way to increase income levels while still maintaining flexibility. This will include white-collar work like computer programming, accounting, customer service, etc. and also blue-collar work like delivery services, ride-sharing, home services, etc. We believe that the gig economy will grow to over 15 percent in Southeast Asia by 2019.

AI-heavy or -driven startups will begin to make inroads into Southeast Asia.

Victor Chua, Vynn Capital

The BIG convergence — there will more integration between industries and sectors. Traveloka  went into car rental, Blibli went into travel business and these are only some examples. There is a lot of synergistic value between travel startups and food startups or between property startups and automotive startups. Imagine a future where you travel to a city where you stay in an apartment you rented through a marketplace (like Travelio, my portfolio company), and when you need to book a restaurant you can make the reservation through a platform that is integrated with the property manager, and when you need to move around you go down to the car park to drive a car you rent from an automotive marketplace. There is clear synergy between selective industries and this leads to an overall convergence between companies, between industries.

More channels to raise Series B/C, early-stage companies find fundraising more challenging — We have seen a number of VC funds raising or already raised growth funds, this means that there are now more channels for Series A or B companies to raise growth rounds. As the market matures, there will be more competition for investments amongst growth funds as there is considerably more growth in the number of growth funds than companies that are raising at growth-stage. On the flip side, the feel is that there is a consistent growth in the number of early-stage companies, yet the amount of capital in early-stage funds is not growing as much as more VCs prefer bigger and later stages, due to the maturity of their existing portfolio companies.

Newcomers gaining weight — there will be at least 10 companies that will hit a valuation of at least $100 million. These valuations will not be based on a single market exposure. Companies that raise larger rounds will need to show that they are regional.


How Building Their Platform From Scratch Helped Dropee Secure RM1.4 Mil In Seed Funding

Dale John Wong

2019-01-17 10:09:43

  • Dropee have been awarded RM1.4 million in funding from venture firm Vynn Capital.
  • They plan to use their new funds to introduce new products and expand deeper into their target markets.

This morning, Malaysian B2B e-procurement marketplace Dropee announced their success in acquiring RM1.4 million in seed funding in a round led by early stage-focused Vynn Capital.

Incepted in 2016, Dropee’s one-stop marketplace aimed to disrupt the B2B supply chain by connecting product suppliers directly with SME owners, offering both sides a streamlined fulfilment process that can handle bulk purchases using a host of tech-enabled solutions.

These solutions include automated ordering, digitalised documentation, easy comparison tools, and easy product tracking across supply chains, among other features.

Led by co-founders Lennise Ng and Aizat Rahim, Dropee currently serves the metropolitan regions of Malaysia, with their target market focused around Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor.

Speaking on their plans going forward, Aizat explained that the plan for their newly acquired capital was to lead into two distinct expansion strategies—new products and new markets.

“We aim to build a new product line to offer better solutions for our existing customers, and to expand our operations geographically,” he said. “As of current, most of our customers are based in the Klang Valley—hence a portion of this fund will be used on Dropee’s expansion to the northern and southern regions of Malaysia such as Penang and Johor, before we advance further into the rest of the Southeast Asian market.”

Expansion plans for the rest of Southeast Asia include Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam in the near future, and all this is indicative of a brand ready to build upon its already impressive base of over 800 brands, over 6,000 SKUs, and over 1,000 businesses. Among Dropee’s clientele include names like Unilever, Network Foods, and Lee’s Frozen Foods.

When quizzed on how they plan to successfully implement their plans for expansion, Aizat explained that aside from just expanding their presence physically, fixing mental conceptions among their customers was also key.

“We’re on a mission to help companies transform their businesses digitally to simplify processes and accelerate growth,” he said. “However, implementation of transformative technology requires education.”

“From our experience, businesses in Malaysia still require more understanding on how technology like ours can help take them to the next level,” he said. “That’s why we actively participate in numerous events (B2B Online Asia, eTail Asia, RetailEX ASEAN, etc) involving he supply chain, retail and FMCG industry, allowing us to preach about the benefits of an integrated supply chain using tech.”

A Partnership Built On Trust

Additionally, Aizat gave his thoughts on the link-up between Dropee and Vynn Capital, saying that it was a combination of factors that helped Dropee gain the confidence of the VC firm.

“The founding team of Dropee has a strong network and deep understanding of the supply-chain industry, and the B2B market has also started to gain more exposure and education so it’s easier to onboard even more potential customers within this space,” he said.

“To top it off, we’ve been single-handedly building our technology in-house since day one, never outsourcing our foundations to freelancers or other agencies.”

“This has allowed us to better understand the problems that our customers face then incorporate technological solutions into our product for them,” he added. “This in turn gives us the upper hand to replicate and scale the same technologies that we’ve to build into other countries with lesser friction.”

It was mentioned also that through their new partnership, Dropee would now be able to rely on a partner with an extensive network of contacts in their target space.

“First of all, Vynn Capital’s team including their partners and board members have direct and indirect investments and influence in the space that we’re focusing on,” Aizat said. “Secondly, the partners are actively contributing to our growth, and as such they’ve shared a lot of their relevant contacts and networks to assist our business, even before we decided to fundraise.”

“Most importantly, we’ve known each other even before venturing into this partnership, which is why it’s safe to say we know Vynn Capital will act in the best interest of Dropee.”

Dropee’s previous funding came during a round with undisclosed angel investors along with a grant from Cradle Fund. Their immediate plans are to introduce a product that will target larger brands, with the goal to unify the supply chain industry.


Governments and Investors Share Knowledge on Tourism Technology at UNWTO/WTM Ministers’ Summit

Madrid, Spain, 7 November 2018 – The UNWTO/WTM Ministers’ Summit, held yesterday by World Travel Market and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), was well received by participants from government and the private sector for its more dynamic new format leading to more concrete takeaways around this year’s theme: Investment in Tourism Technology.

This year, the UNWTO/WTM Ministers’ Summit held at World Travel Market, one of the world’s biggest tourism trade show (6 November 2018), focused on investment in tourism technology with a novel format. For the first time the summit featured a panel of private sector leaders alongside a panel of ministers, sparking an open and useful exchange of ideas and opinions on how to channel private capital into innovative tourism technologies.

This meant that tourism ministers and high-level representatives from countries including Bahrain, Bulgaria, Egypt, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Uganda, Uruguay and the UK were able to directly reflect on and respond to the opinions voiced by the leading tourism and technology investment funds involved in the panel, such as Alibaba Capital Partners, Atomico and Vynn Capital.

“Without the support of the key tourism stakeholders, notably governments, corporations and investors, development and implementation of innovative products is not possible. Today’s discussions shed light on the influential role of both sectors as well as the need for stronger public-private partnerships”, said UNWTO Deputy Secretary-General Jaime Cabal opening the event.

A common sentiment amongst the panel of private sector entrepreneurs was that disruption leads change in the tourism sector, but regulation can be preventative to obtaining the attractive investment conditions needed to support disruptive new business ventures. It was suggested that regulation should be fixed in order to give clear guidelines to investors who wish to put private capital into new technology.

Several technology investors highlighted the need to narrow the opportunity cost and clear up the governance barriers for innovation in tourism. “It needs to be easy for start-ups to grow and expand – if rules change too quickly, investors will hesitate to invest,” Katherine Grass of Thayer Ventures told ministers.

Lio Chen, Managing Director at the Travel & Hospitality Center of Innovation at venture capital firm Plug and Play, called for larger technology companies to engage with start-ups to boost ideas, human resources and investment. “I ask ministers to incentivize the top five corporations in their country to work with start-ups and foster innovation,” he said.

On the subject of regulation, Michael Ellis, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: “It’s a question of balance, and it’s a challenge to get that right, especially in technology.” He also urged ministers to boost sustainability and help tackle the world’s climate-related problems, such as rising carbon emissions.

Education was also highlighted as an element making investments more attractive. “Education allows technology to root into societies and contribute to making tourism more inclusive for communities,” said Benjamin Liberoff, Vice-Minister of Tourism of Uruguay.

“We have brought the public and private sector together in a unique format, and hope it will deliver real change in the sector. As tourism grows, then technology will play a key role,” said Simon Press, Senior Exhibitions Director of WTM London.

Moderated by Richard Quest of CNN International, the summit contributed to UNWTO’s ongoing priority to place tourism at the centre of the global innovation agenda.

GoGoVan CEO says whoever adopts autonomous vehicle technology first will dominate logistics

Autonomous driving technology will enable more efficient and affordable delivery of goods

As autonomous vehicle technology becomes more advanced, the first company to adopt it successfully has the potential to dominate the logistics market, according to a top executive from Hong Kong logistics start-up GoGoVan.

Lam likened the arrival of autonomous driving technology to how cars displaced horse carriages as a mode of transport in the 20th century, and pointed out that although such technology is still hindered by policy, it will allow more efficient and affordable delivery of goods – whether intra- or inter-city when it becomes mainstream.

He dismissed the notion that such technology will cause drivers for companies like GoGoVan to lose their jobs, pointing out that autonomous technology will also create opportunities that humans can align with.

“We need to evolve ourselves with new tools, we need to adapt,” Lam said.

Lam was speaking during a discussion of the technologies and logistics Southeast Asian companies should adopt to attract Chinese consumers.

Victor Chua, managing partner at Vynn Capital, echoed Lam’s comments and urged traditional businesses to adapt technologies and work with entrepreneurs to stay relevant, regardless of the industry they are in. This is particularly important for big companies who might not be as nimble as start-ups.

“You cannot genetically recreate a start-up … there are elements that you cannot recreate [in a large company] just by hiring people or creating a subsidiary,” Chua said.

On the issue of cross-border e-commerce, Malaysian businesses often have the misconception that they are unable to sell to China as they are unable to compete on price, according to Fione Tan, chief executive of e-commerce platforms 28Mall.com and eOneNet.com. However, there is often a demand for local products such as durian and coffee from Chinese consumers.

She said that sellers who are keen to sell cross-border to China can now build businesses online thanks to cloud infrastructure, and that cross-border e-commerce is now “faster and cheaper” as countries like China embrace imported goods.

Malaysia had earlier partnered with Alibaba Group Holding, which owns the Post, on the electronic world trade platform (eWTP). With the eWTP, small and medium enterprises in both the mainland and Malaysia will be able to conduct cross-border trade easily.


Asia PE-VC Summit 2018: Indochina is attractive but a long-term play


L-R: DEALSTREETASIA Vietnam correspondent Nguyen Bich Ngoc, ACA Investments partner Hiroyuki Ono,, Vynn Capital managing partner Victor Chua, EMIA CEO, Joshua Morris and Anthem Asia co-founder and MD Genevieve Heng at the DEALSTREETASIA PE-VC Summit 2018.

Ka Kay Lum

September 19, 2018 Indochina – which comprises Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand – is fast catching investor interest even though the returns timeline appear to be long drawn.

While it is a good time to invest in Indochina, investors will have to be ready for a fairly long ride as the region, particularly Myanmar, is likely to go through a difficult situation, according to speakers of the Indochina panel at DEALSTREETASIA’s Asia PE-VC Summit 2018.

“Myanmar is likely to go through a difficult situation, where you have general elections in 2020, and tourism and FDI are currently down. You have to be ready for a fairly long ride,” said Emerging Markets Investment Advisors CEO, Joshua Morris, commenting on the potential of Myanmar as an investment destination.

Morris, along with Anthem Asia co-founder and managing director Genevieve Heng, Vynn Capital managing partner Victor Chua, and ACA Investments partner Hiroyuki Ono, were speaking on the panel theme of ‘Indochina – Emerging from the Fringes.’

Anthem Asia’s Heng concurred, saying that investments in the Indochina region were a long-term play. The Myanmar-focused PE firm has recently achieved first close of its SME Venture Fund at $34.5 million.

“You can find deals – but again, if you find the right company [to invest in], follow-on opportunities are there. Can you ride it out? Now is a good time to invest. It’s not that there is no universe – in Myanmar, 99 per cent of the private companies are SMEs (small and medium enterprises). We got a healthy pipeline,” Heng said.

“Myanmar is still very much in a transit space. The mindset there is very different and the new generation wants to hear from the outside. But you have to build the ability to source deals. In Myanmar, you cannot be [a] passive [investor], if you’re doing an early stage deal, you have to active,” she said.

Commenting from a VC perspective, Vynn Capital’s Chua noted that there are two types VCs – passive and active. The VC firm is raising a $40 million debut vehicle targeting Southeast Asian investments.

“When it comes to Vietnam, you need to provide a lot of hand-holding, also in Myanmar. When it comes to trends,  we’re in hospitality, property, food and women consumers. Consumerism, as a whole, will continue to be the key for IndoChina,” he said.

Chua also pointed out that markets like Myanmar and Vietnam are seeing a “convergence between PE and VC”.

“Kind of an interesting time where both sides are trying to understand how valuation works. For us VCs, when you talk about EBITDA, there is none for us to begin with. In that case, we’ll see which side will have a bigger pull factor. I think there will be a compromise point where PE and VC will infuse and get involved coherently,” he said.

Japanese PE player ACA Investments, which has been focusing a lot on Vietnam and is raising a debut $100 million country-focussed fund for the market, noted that real estate is still an attractive space.

Ono said, the firm is looking to focus on warehouse investments in Vietnam with a holding period of five to six years.

“Population density brings a lot of opportunity. The real estate landscape in Vietnam has changed since 2015 summer, when foreign investors were able to buy properties there. The cycle has also managed to capture opportunity in bringing the high-end property segment into the market. As a PE, we’re investing into a company and its management. Real estate is a stable investment and I found that it is still an attractive segment,” he said.

Vynn Capital Partners with the World Tourism Organization to Boost Asia’s Tourism Sector

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 9 August 2018 – Vynn Capital, a South-East Asia-based early-stage venture capital firm, and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) today jointly announced a strategic partnership to promote South-East Asia’s tourism sector by facilitating entrepreneurship and innovation.

Through this strategic partnership, Vynn Capital and UNWTO will collaborate to create a framework and policies to support technology startups that are addressing opportunities and challenges in the region’s tourism sector. Both parties will work together to encourage traditional industry players such as hotel groups, property groups and food companies to adopt digital strategies, as well as to encourage more investment by the private sector into technology companies. Vynn Capital will act as UNWTO’s partner on initiatives to achieve these goals, by supporting tourism entrepreneurs and traditional industry players as the tourism market embraces technology and innovation.

“The tourism sector represents a huge opportunity for South-East Asia, where we see the emergence of a strong middle class. Vynn Capital has identified tourism as a key investment space and we will continue to work with entrepreneurs and industry players to promote the region’s tourism sector. We believe technology companies that focus on the mobility of consumers, such as Indonesia’s Travelio and Carsome, who already has operations in four key countries in South-East Asia, will continue to champion the economic impact of tourism growth. We join hands with UNWTO to foster a new generation of innovative tourism companies in South-East Asia,” said Victor Chua, Founding and Managing Partner of Vynn Capital and Chairman of the Malaysia Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (MVCA).

“UNWTO is proud to partner with Vynn Capital, who will help us to create real solutions for the much-needed digital transformation of tourism. Such partnerships are key to continue generating opportunities all through tourism, and prove that venture capital has a role to play when we want to advance sustainable development,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

According to UNWTO, international arrivals have increased in all regions since the start of 2018, continuing the strong trend of previous years. The strong growth is led by Asia and the Pacific (+8%), especially South-East Asia (+10%) and South Asia (+9%) where growth has already surpassed that of 2017 when Asia saw a 6% increase in international arrivals. This is significant, considering that Asia and the Pacific represents around 29% of international tourism receipts.

About Vynn Capital

Vynn Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm that focuses on opportunities in South-East Asia. The team has experience investing across Asia, with notable past investments in companies such as Triip.me, Carsome, Hermo and others. The firm focuses on bridging the knowledge and experience gap between incumbent industry players and startups, within industries such as travel, property, food & FMCG, female economics, logistics and enablers. Vynn Capital encourages strong partnerships of corporations and families with technology companies, as well as synergy between companies in creating more value for the ecosystem.


Vynn Capital Jalin Kemitraan dengan UNWTO untuk Tingkatkan Sektor Pariwisata Asia

SIAR.Com, Kuala Lumpur – Perusahaan modal ventura, Vynn Capital, jalin kemitraan strategis dengan Organisasi Pariwisata Dunia di bawah naungan PBB (UN World Tourism Organization/UNWTO) untuk mempromosikan sektor pariwisata Asia Tenggara dengan memfasilitasi kewirausahaan dan inovasi.

Dengan kemitraan strategis ini, Vynn Capital dan UNWTO akan bekerja sama untuk menciptakan kerangka kerja dan kebijakan yang mendukung startup teknologi dalam menangani peluang dan tantangan di sektor pariwisata di Asia Tenggara.

Kedua pihak akan bekerja sama dalam mendorong pemain industri tradisional seperti hotel, properti dan perusahaan makanan untuk melakukan inovasi dan mengadopsi strategi digital serta mendorong lebih banyak investasi oleh sektor swasta ke perusahaan teknologi.

Menurut Founder dan Managing Partner Vynn Capital Victor Chua, sektor pariwisata merupakan peluang besar, terutama untuk Asia Tenggara, dengan munculnya kelas menengah yang kuat. “Vynn Capital telah mengidentifikasi pariwisata sebagai salah satu ruang investasi utama bagi kami, dan kami akan terus bekerja dengan pengusaha dan pelaku industri untuk mempromosikan sektor pariwisata di kawasan itu. Kami percaya perusahaan teknologi yang berfokus pada mobilitas konsumen seperti Travelio dan Carsome Indonesia, yang sudah beroperasi di empat negara utama di Asia Tenggara, akan terus menjadi juara yang mewakili dampak ekonomi dari pertumbuhan pariwisata,” katanya di Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Rabu (8/8/2018).

“Untuk itu, Vynn Capital bergandeng tangan dengan UNWTO untuk mengembangkan generasi baru perusahaan pariwisata yang inovatif di Asia Tenggara,” kata Victor Chua yang juga menjabat sebagai Ketua Asosiasi Modal Ventura & Modal Swasta Malaysia (Malaysian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association/MVCA).

Sementara itu, Sekretaris Jenderal UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili mengatakan, “UNWTO bangga bermitra dengan Vynn Capital, yang akan membantu kami menghasilkan solusi nyata untuk transformasi digital yang sangat dibutuhkan dari pariwisata. Kemitraan ini adalah kunci untuk terus menghasilkan peluang bagi semua melalui pariwisata, dan bukti bahwa modal ventura memiliki peran untuk dimainkan ketika kami ingin memajukan pembangunan berkelanjutan,” katanya.

Menurut data UNWTO, kedatangan turis internasional telah meningkat di semua wilayah sejak awal 2018, melanjutkan tren yang kuat dari tahun-tahun sebelumnya. Hasil yang signifikan dipimpin oleh Asia dan Pasifik, terutama Asia Tenggara (+ 10%) dan Asia Selatan (+ 9%), yang melampaui perolehan 2017, di mana Asia mencapai peningkatan 6% dalam kedatangan turis internasional.  Sebuah perolehan yang signifikan, mengingat bahwa Asia Pasifik mewakili sekitar 29% bagian dari penerimaan pariwisata internasional.

Sebagaimana diketahui, Vynn Capital adalah perusahaan modal ventura tahap awal yang berfokus pada peluang di Asia Tenggara.  Perusahaan ini memiliki pengalaman berinvestasi di seluruh Asia, dengan investasi di perusahaan-perusahaan seperti Triip.me, Carsome, Hermo dan lain-lain. Perusahaan ini berfokus pada menjembatani kesenjangan pengetahuan dan pengalaman antara pemain industri dan startup, dalam industri seperti travelling, properti, makanan & FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Good), ekonomi wanita, logistik dan pengiriman barang. Vynn Capital mendorong kemitraan kuat perusahaan dengan perusahaan teknologi, serta sinergi antar perusahaan dalam menciptakan nilai lebih bagi ekosistem. (Joko Susilo)


Asean Digest: Vynn Capital, UNWTO pact; Plug and Play adds Krung Thai as partner

While early-stage venture capital firm Vynn Capital has partnered with World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), global accelerator Plug and Play has added Krung Thai Bank as a founding anchor partner for its Singapore fintech programme. Vynn Capital pairs up with UNWTO to push digital agenda Early-stage venture capital firm Vynn Capital has partnered with World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to promote the tourism sector of Southeast Asia by facilitating entrepreneurship and innovation, said the VC firm in an announcement today. Both will collaborate to create a framework to support tech startups addressing opportunities and challenges in the tourism sector as well as working with traditional industry players including hotel and property groups, food companies to adopt digital strategies. “These partnerships are key to continue generating opportunities for all through tourism, and proof that venture capital has a role to play when we want to advance sustainable development,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili. Southeast Asia-focused Vynn Capital is raising a $40-million debut fund and has made two investments into Indonesia-based travel platform Travelio and Malaysia-based used car platform Carsome. Plug and Play ropes in Krung Thai Bank for fintech programme Silicon Valley-based global accelerator Plug and Play has added another partner, Krung Thai Bank, as a founding anchor partner for its Singapore fintech programme, it said in an announcement yesterday. State-owned Krung Thai Bank (KTB) has been tasked to lead the 3 billion baht government VC fund to encourage technology adoption among Thai enterprises. “As the first Thai bank partnering with Plug & Play, this is an important step in KTB’s strategy to become digitally advanced through financial innovation with startups and working with other financial industry stakeholders. These partners can help KTB nurture startups and build the company through the continuous pursuit of innovation. It encourages constructive thinking and sustainable business building, and allows startups to connect and partner with a global powerhouse”, said Krung Thai Bank president and CEO, Payong Srivanich. Launched in Singapore in 2010, Plug and Play has since invested in more than 30 startups and collaborated with various Singaporean and Indonesian government agencies as well as multinational and regional corporations to run industry-specific accelerator programmes.


Championing Southeast Asia tourism, Vynn Capital partners with the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations

Prisca Akhaya
Championing Southeast Asia tourism, Vynn Capital partners with the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations

Vynn Capital partners with the World Tourism Organization to promote Southeast Asia’s tourism sector through entrepreneurship and innovation

Today Vynn Capital, a Southeast Asia-based early-stage venture capital firm and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced a strategic partnership to promote Southeast Asia’s tourism sector by facilitating entrepreneurship and innovation.

Vynn Capital and UNWTO will collaborate to create a framework and policies to support technology startups that focus on opportunities and challenges in the region’s tourism sector.

Both parties will work together to encourage traditional industry players such as hotel groups, property groups and food companies to adopt digital strategy as well as encourage more investments by the private sector into technology companies. Vynn Capital will support the objectives of UNWTO as a partner on initiatives to achieve these goals.

“The tourism sector represents a huge opportunity, especially for Southeast Asia, where we see the emergence of a strong middle class. Vynn Capital has identified tourism as one of the key investment space for us, and we will continue to work with entrepreneurs and industry players to promote the region’s tourism sector,” said Victor Chua, Founding and Managing Partner of Vynn Capital and Chairman of the Malaysia Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (MVCA).

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Chua brought up the examples of Indonesia’s Travelio and Carsome as notable startups that have found success across Southeast Asia. These type of companies will receive full support from the initiative as they represent the economic impact of tourism growth.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili pointed to the needed digital transformation of tourism as the reasons to partner with Vynn Capital.

“These partnerships are key to continue generating opportunities for all through tourism, and proof that venture capital has a role to play when we want to advance sustainable development,” he said.

Also Read: Thailand online fulfillment service Sokochan is heading to Malaysia

UNWTO reported that since the start of 2018, international arrivals have increased in all regions across Asia. Tourism in Southeast Asia increased by 10 per cent and South Asia by 9 per cent.

Photo by Diem Nhi Nguyen on Unsplash

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