Singapore has a fresh breeze of venture money. Monk’s Hill Ventures launches with an S$100M venture fund and a team of seasoned entrepreneurs focused on early stage technology startups across Asia. It’s a VC fund with a clear vision of ‘Entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs’.
The partnership comprises Peng T. Ong, Kuo-Yi Lim, Stefan Jung and Thomas Clayton as special advisor. Their concept behind the fund is very strong – entrepreneurs backing entrepreneurs. The partnership sees the lack of operational experience as a critical deficiency across the VC landscape in Asia today.
Monk’s Hill Ventures is a partnership of seasoned entrepreneurs who have built and backed global companies based both in Silicon Valley and Asia. It’s plans to invest in high-growth technology companies in both consumer and enterprise sectors in the fast growing Asian markets. With the vast prior experience the partners have, they would not only provide capital but also mentor the teams to build an ecosystem. They hope that their previous entrepreneurial and operation experience that distant them from other firms in the ecosystem.
There are clearly two big gaps in the market. One is the much talked-about Series A funding gap. However, the more significant one that we see is the lack of seasoned entrepreneurs, with deep operating experience, as investors—people who can roll up their sleeves and really help entrepreneurs,” says Peng T. Ong, partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures, “This is what separates the best VCs from the rest.”
The other partners of Monk’s Hill Ventures have built numerous Silicon Valley and Asian VC-backed companies over the past two decades, with operating experience in all of the major countries across Asia—from China and Japan to India and Indonesia. They want to leverage this experience to help entrepreneurs build big companies on a global scale. They also bring strong networks across Asia and the US, to help entrepreneurs with further fundraising, landing key enterprise customers, recruiting top talent, and expanding internationally.
“We also want to set the bar for how venture is done in Asia, by bringing the best practices we have personally experienced through working with top VCs ourselves,” said Kuo-Yi Lim, partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures, “a straightforward and transparent process which treats entrepreneurs as partners.”
The partnership views Southeast Asia to be ripe for an explosion of leading technology companies, driven by a confluence of favorable macroeconomic conditions, exciting talent and available capital. “When I first moved to Asia seven years ago, there were only a handful of VC-backed startups,” says Tom Clayton, special advisor at Monk’s Hill Ventures, “in just the past three years, there has been a rapid emergence of new entrepreneurs and great startups across Southeast Asia with vibrant ecosystems forming, from Singapore and Jakarta to Bangkok and Manila.”
Monk’s Hill Ventures will invest in high-growth technology companies that will take advantage of the fast growing Asian markets. The fund has two primary areas of focus. First will be on early stage, Series A and B, technology startups primarily across Southeast Asia. Second will be on growth rounds of leading startups in Silicon Valley and from around the world that want to expand in Asia.
“I learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to build successful businesses across Asia, and the nuances of each country, as we incubated and scaled up a number of businesses— including Zalora, Lazada and FoodPanda,” says Stefan Jung, partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures, “moreover, we have hired and trained many budding entrepreneurs and now many of them are building some of the top startups across the region.”
Most importantly, Monk’s Hill Ventures wants to help build the overall startup ecosystem—not just its portfolio companies. They aim to help as many startups and entrepreneurs as possible in order to help accelerate the growth across the region. The firm will start off with offices in both Singapore and Jakarta, but plans to continue building out and spending time across the major Asian markets.
This is a very interesting development for the South-East Asian market.