VC Spin-Outs Are On A Roll In Asia. Ask Gobi.

The trend of venture capitalists spinning out their own funds continues as former Gobi Ventures vice president Victor Chua teams up with Darren Chua to form a new venture capital fund, Vynn Capital, focused on Southeast Asia and going after a $40 million close. Gobi has inked several successful deals in the region since opening there a few years ago from its China base. Chua said the strategic-value focused VC firm is now live to work with families and corporates as well as entrepreneurs who are looking to create more synergistic value and build the ecosystem together.

The past year has seen venture partners from Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures and others go out on their own with new funds.

China co-working market continues to be red hot, as China’s co-working space giant Ucommune secures $17.4 million in new funding, barely two months after it raised $47 million in a Series C funding round, also led by the same M&A fund, Qianhai Wutong.  The startup is backed by renowned investors such as Sequoia Capital, Zhen Fund, Noah Wealth Management and Sinovation Ventures. Its valuation was estimated to be $1.3 billion after the Series C round as of December 2017.  Interestingly, the same M&A fund backed China’s largest co-working space operator UrWork (rebranded as UCommune) in fundraising of $45 million late last year.

DataVisor, a provider of fraud detection solutions using machine learning, snapped up a $40 million Series C round of financing led by Sequoia China, with participation from existing investors New Enterprise Associates and GSR Ventures. Rock Wang, managing director at Sequoia China, will join DataVisor’s board of directors. With this new round of financing, the Silicon Valley based startup with offices in Beijing and Shanghai plans to expand its global footprint in the fraud detection and prevention market, which is estimated to reach $41.6 billion by the year 2022,  according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. Yinglian Xie, CEO and co-founder of DataVisor, called Sequoia China an ideal partner to help scale the business as it improves its technology and expands globally in the fraud fight.

New funding of $2.5 billion goes to the logistics unit of Chinese e-commerce giant, the closest rival to Alibaba. The deal was led by investment firms Hillhouse Capital Group and  Sequoia Capital China, plus internet giant Tencent as well as several state-owned companies. The money is being earmarked to further develop drone deliveries and robotic assists.

Silicon Valley-based bike-sharing company LimeBike has raised a series B extension of funding of $50 million led by Fifth Wall Ventures (typically a real estate investor) and Shenzhen manufacturer Rainbow Technology Co. The connection to real estate is that Fifth Wall will work with LimeBike to establish hubs nearby buildings and local retail establishments where bikers can rent bikes, explained Brandon Wallace, co-founder and general partner at the Los Angeles-anchored VC fund.

The busy week for LimeBike was also marked by its roll-out of electric-assisted bikes in Seattle and communities in the Bay Area.

The funding follows last October’s round of $50 million from DCM Ventures, GGV Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, Stanford StartX-Fund, Section 32 and Durant Company, founded by professional basketball player  Kevin Durant.


Chinese search leader Baidu is making plans to take its video streaming platform iQiyi public in New York sometime soon.

And, Alibaba is taking a 33 percent stake in its online payment affiliate Ant Financial in a deal that could lead to a public listing of the unit, which was spun off from Alibaba in 2014 as a separate entity.

China is racing ahead in AI with funding and patents, grabbing nearly half the venture capital and closing the gap on the talent race.  Baidu is betting its future on artificial intelligence, launching its Alexa of China series of lamps, projectors and speakers while racing to keep up with Google in autonomous driving. Baidu just opened a second R&D lab for AI research in Silicon Valley.  Alibaba is also playing its AI hand, relying on the technology to making shopping more convenient, efficient and fun. You know about its new Hema grocery stores that are fully automatic and digitalized – no cashiers, no check-out lines — just QR codes and AliPay.


If you want to be in the center of action in Tel Aviv on your next business trip, you should stay at the new boutique hotel Poli House, in 1930 Bauhaus style.  It’s really cool with a panoramic rooftop pool, sun deck, cocktail bar, spa treatment room and quaint cafe for breakfast. The Poli House is one of a growing trend of boutique hotels in Tel Aviv as the city by the sea populates with newer, luxurious hotels such as the very chic Carlton, right on the beach with breakfast overlooking the surfers.

Rebecca A. Fannin is founder/editor of news, events and research group Silicon Dragon. She is an author of three books on innovation and venture trends, and is a public speaker.

Source: Forbes

The “Vynn-ing” Plan

By Victor Chua

2017 represented a great year of change, exploration and development for me as a person and the greater venture ecosystem in Southeast Asia as a whole. With all these successes, 2018 marks a year where new journeys begin and we embrace ourselves with even more “more-work-to-be-done” moments ahead. It is under this backdrop that we decided that it is the right time for a “different-yet-familiar” kind of growth in the region. Understanding this, we embarked to create a new way of venture investing – and Vynn Capital is our solution to address the unique opportunity in the market to bridge familiar industries with new and emerging sectors to create economic growth.

Why Now?

This “different-yet-familiar” kind of growth is really about corporate innovation. A lot of people have been discussing corporate innovation where traditional blue-chip companies are working to leverage new technologies to revitalize their business operations against an inexorable tide of digitalization. While it makes sense for larger corporations to explore business diversification, family businesses and mid-tier companies are also making their way into this space and investing to satiate a more primal purpose – survival.

Traditional big boys took their time to study the market and realized that digitalization is inevitable and those who resist change will be ruthlessly swept away with the times. So many have tried to venture build on their own or simply invest directly into startups without professional experience or know-how, resulting in disappointment and fruitless efforts. As such, Vynn Capital aims to work directly with traditional industry partners to assist them in tackling the startup space to create meaningful solutions to facilitate business growth, allowing corporations and family businesses  better understand how tech investing works and how it is able to generate real results for their bottom lines.

What are we doing differently?

The core spirit of Vynn is all about helping traditional businesses create new engines of growth, bridging the knowledge and resource gap between large established companies and families with startup ingenuity and hustle. It is essentially a matchmaking of skill sets.

From there, we examined the best way we can add value to both our investors and startups we aim to back and formulated a strategy, which we believe is uniquely suited to the market based on the following characteristics:

  • Concentrated industry focus – we are focusing on five core industries, which we believe are synergistic to one another or offer a natural next-phase expansion possibility. Namely, “Travel”, “Property”, “Food & FMCG”, “Female Economics” and “Logistics & Enablers (fintech is lumped under this category)”;
  • Consciously engage with investors that have businesses in our industry focus – we will actively encourage investors to engage with our portfolio companies in a healthy and transparent manner, which we hope will allow startups to tap into the business knowledge of our investors, while our investors can gain meaningful exposure to the tech industry to address their individual business needs;
  • Focusing on cross-border or inter-industry opportunities – we will identify and invest in startups that are looking to branch out in terms of geography and industry, leveraging the Vynn team’s proven experience supporting business expansion and strong local and regional network to provide meaningful value to our portfolio companies. In turn, creating companies that are built for long-term sustainable growth.

Who do we work with?

Given our focus on synergistic industries, we work with companies and families that are operating in these sectors or who have an interest in learning about and gaining exposure to these particular industries.

We are a platform that allows our partners, be it investee companies or our investors, to explore new markets and industries by working closely within the ecosystem that we are creating. This is the reason our investors are companies and families with business interests in these industries and why we aim to invest in startups operating in this space.

Where are we headed?

We envision a future where tech startups seamlessly collaborate with larger incumbents as a complementary force for change, rather than being viewed as a threat or disruptor to traditional sectors. At the end of the day, why re-invent the wheel when you already have something that is running. By improving what we already have through combined efforts and resources, we can create a more meaningful future for businesses, startups and society as a whole.

This is our first major step as a new team. We appreciate all the support we have received and we welcome more collaborative opportunities with long-term partners who can appreciate these values with us. We hope to fulfill this “Vynn-ing” strategy with our trusted partners and achieve a shared vision.

Newly found VC firm Vynn Capital plans SEA-focused $40m debut fund

Vynn Capital, a new Southeast Asia-focused venture capital firm founded by former Gobi executive Victor Chua and Singapore’s Darren Chua, is raising a $40-million debut fund, according to a recent report.

The Kuala Lumpur-headquartered VC firm is also planning to start making investments by the end of this month and will target seed and pre-Series A deals to start with, a report from TechCrunch said. The firm is looking to invest in about 15-20 deals.

The report said Vynn has already mopped up $10 million for its maiden fund. It will target startups in travel, property, FMCG, logistics, property and “female-focused economics”. The fund will focus on countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.

An email to Victor did not elicit any response at the time of publishing of the article.

Victor, a former Vice President of Investments for Gobi Partners, managed two Southeast Asia focused early stage funds there. Among some of his notable investments include Carsome (Malaysia), (Vietnam) and Travelio (Indonesia), according to the firm’s website.

Prior to that, he worked on direct and indirect investments at Malaysia’s largest venture capital fund, MAVCAP. He spent his formative years with Willis Towers Watson, advising corporate, pension and sovereign wealth funds on investment strategies.

Meanwhile, Darren also has numerous years of experience in strategic management and private equity investment, having completed stints with the Singapore government, technology startups and multinational firms.

Before starting Vynn Capital, he led investment and strategy projects across Southeast Asia and the Greater East Asia region. He has also worked on technology transfers across Asia and Europe. At IE Singapore, he guided more than 10 SMEs in corporate development and market expansion across Asia.

The firm has appointed Tan Sri Vincent Lee, a key executive of the Malaysian advertising industry, as one of its advisors, according to its website.

Other advisors are Setyono Djuandi Darmono, the founder and Chairman of industrial estate developer PT Jababeka Tbk, and Mario Hardy, CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), a not-for-profit travel and tourism body in Asia-Pacific.

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Vynn Capital plans maiden $40M startup fund for Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia has a new venture capital fund on the scene after Victor Chua, formerly a vice president at Gobi Ventures, launched Vynn Capital.

The Kuala Lumpur-headquartered venture is founded by Chua and Singaporean Darren Chua, previously with IE Singapore, and it is targeting a $40 million total close. Chua declined to say how far advanced the project is, but we did a little digging and industry sources suggest it has closed around $10 million thus far.

The fund is focused on startups in a range of industry verticals including travel, property, FMCG, logistics, property and “female-focused economics,” Chua told TechCrunch in an interview. On that last vertical, Chua cites Gobi’s successful exit from Malaysia-based skincare and cosmetics startup Hermo — the firm received $13 million for its 60 percent stake courtesy of a deal with public Japanese firm Istyle.

Chua said the deal represented a massive return on investment despite the fact that Hermo had never expanded beyond Malaysia. He believes that the opportunity for female-focused business will only increase in the region.

Geographically, the fund’s focus is on Southeast Asia, and in particular Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. Myanmar and the Philippines are on the radar.

In particular, Chua said he will tap his network in Thailand and Vietnam — developed from his time at Gobi — while Chua has extensive experience working in Myanmar among other markets. Two other partners are in the process of joining the firm but cannot be named at this point, he added.

Vynn Capital plans to begin investments by the end of February with a primary target of seed and pre-Series A deals. Chua said it would reserve significant funds for follow-on deals that would take it into Series A investments and potentially belong. All told, the firm is looking at making around 15-20 deals with its inaugural fund.

Chua declined to give specific LP information, but he said the firm is backed by “traditional families keen get into the new era of business where technology plays a huge role.”

Three publicly-announced advisors to the fund include Malaysia-based advertising industry pioneer Tan Sri Vincent Lee, Indonesian business leader SD Darmono, Dr Mario Hardy, the Thailand-based CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

Chua, who spent three years with Gobi, is not the only Southeast Asia-based VC to switch out of a larger fund to establish his own.

Yinglan Tan, formerly with Sequoia, launched his $20 million Insignia Venture Partners firmlast year. Other prominent firms covering the seed to Series A and beyond include Golden Gate VenturesMonks Hill VenturesVenturra CapitalNSI Ventures, and Jungle Ventures’ SeedPlus unit. Of course, there is also Gobi itself, which is heavily anchored in China but has a local presence in Southeast Asia.

Note: The original version of this post was updated to correct the spelling of Darren Chua’s name and clarify the markets of focus for the fund.

Coverage by TechCrunch