EV Growth has hit the close of its inaugural fund at US$200 million exceeding the firm’s initial US$150 million targets - Photo: Privacy.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Singapore-headquartered venture capital (VC) firm EV Growth has hit the close of its inaugural fund at US$200 million (Rp2.9 trillion), exceeding the firm’s initial US$150 million targets.

This oversubscribed fund is supported by a diverse set of partners including SoftBank Group Corp, Pavilion CapitaI, Indies Capital and other regional investors.

Launched in March last year, EV Growth is a joint venture between East Ventures, SMDV – VC firm under Sinar Mas Group– and YJ Capital Inc that focused on providing series B and growth capital to startups in Indonesia and the rest of Southeast Asia with an agnostic industry focus.

SMDV is 2014 founded, the corporate venture arm of Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas while YJ Capital is the corporate venture capital arm of Yahoo Japan, which has enjoyed nine exits so far.

The company is led by three partners – Willson Cuaca from East Ventures, Roderick Purwana from SMDV, and Shinichiro Hori from YJ Capital Inc.

EV Growth has a multitude of portfolio companies encompassing different sectors including beauty tech player Sociolla, multi-platform online media company IDN Media, mobile point-of-sale player Moka, micro-retail tech player Warung Pintar and the region’s number one edutech player, Ruangguru.

To date, the VC has deployed 40 percent of total funds to more than 12 deals out of which 90 percent comes from Indonesia.

According to Cuaca, they set up EV Growth to capture some of the best startups from Indonesia, including but not limited to portfolios of East Ventures. The timing, fund size, and fund deployment pace were right and they were able to attract smart money within a short period of fundraising. “We believe EV Growth will quickly make its mark into Southeast Asia digital economy.”

For his part, Hori is excited to have YJ Capital Inc’s parent company, SoftBank Group Corp, as well as many of the key regional investors onboard. As a joint venture fund, he says they aim to bring value to their portfolio companies by leveraging on the network and capabilities of the partners, their parent companies and affiliates, and their investors with experience in global markets.

Purwana added, “For SMDV, this collaboration marks the next evolution of what we’ve been doing in the tech space in the region for the past five years. We’ve been very fortunate to have partnered with East Ventures early on and are delighted to add another great partner in YJ Capital Inc.

“The combination of the three firms, allows us to leverage further on the network of Sinar Mas group to support a growing ecosystem of tech companies in Indonesia and the region. We believe we have the right setup and team to tackle the growing opportunity of tech growth funding in Southeast Asia.”

Over several years, East Ventures has invested in hundreds of companies in Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand. The majority of East Ventures’ portfolio firms have been able to raise follow-on financing rounds.

The firm was one of the first to focus on Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, and encourage its companies to dominate that market rather than rapidly expand across the region. East Venture’s portfolio includes unicorns Tokopedia and Traveloka, while ride-sharing Grab and Go-Jek acquired two of its companies, Kudo and Loket, respectively.

Cuaca, previously, said there is a lot of room for the new VC to invest in Indonesia. The reason EV set up the joint venture is because He believed the country will produce more unicorns in the future.

The three investors have injected $100 million of the total commitment of $150 million in the new VC. EV Growth is targeting to invest $5-15 million per startup, and according to him, so far this is the biggest investment for growth funding venture capital.

Indonesian Minister for Information, Communication & Technology Rudiantara is optimistic that the country to create five unicorns until 2019. Based on Coordinating Board for Investment data, He said, the digital investment reached $4.7 billion in 2017.

According to him, Southeast Asia now has six to seven unicorns and four of them are in Indonesia. In 2017, the total funding flowing to technology-based startups in Southeast Asia reached $7.9 billion, a four-fold increase from the value in 2015.

Singapore and Indonesia dominate, of which 71.2 percent of total funds flows to Singapore and 22.1 percent goes to Indonesia. However, of all the investments that flow, only eight percent of the funding goes to series B funding. This shows a gap that hinders the acceleration of digital startup growth in Indonesia.

US$1: Rp14,400

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com