Singapore-based venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures is reportedly raising $100 million in its third round of funding. According to a report by Bloomberg, a source with knowledge of the fundraiser said that the money will be used to continue Golden Gate’s investments into Southeast Asia’s steadily growing e-commerce, digital payments, and mobile apps markets. The fund is expected to have its first close by the end of this month, and the final close by the end of the year; no further details are available at this time.
Golden Gate Ventures was set up in 2011 by ex-Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Vinnie Lauria and Paul Bragiel, Co-founders of social networking “super-network” Lefora and location-based social messenger Meetro, and Jeffrey Paine, Director of the business incubator The Founder Institute. The firm focuses on early-stage internet-related startups in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia and has made 55 investments over the years, including 14 where it was the lead investor. Notable startups in Golden Gate’s portfolio include local services platform ServisHero, Philippines-based gift remittance startup Ayannah, Singapore-based inventory management startup TradeGecko, virtual translation-focused Waygo, e-commerce marketplace Carousell, and dating app Noonswoon. The VC firm has so far invested nearly $170 million across its portfolio.
Golden Gate has also had two rounds of funding earlier – an initial fund of $10 million with investors from Silicon Valley and Asia, especially Japan, and a $60 million second round in 2016, which featured prominent investors including state-owned funding company Temasek Holdings, Facebook Co-founder Eduardo Saverin, Korea’s Hanwha Life Insurance, Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank, and Germany’s Hubert Burda Media.
The latest round of fundraising comes as Southeast Asia is seeing a spurt of investment activity across various verticals, particularly technology, mobile, and digital payments. Investors and VCs are increasingly exploring opportunities in markets beyond China and India and raising funds to meet their investment targets. Wavemaker Partners LLC, another Singapore-based early-stage investment fund, closed a $66 million fund in October last year, around the same time as Temasek’s IT and healthcare-focused arm Vertex Venture Holdings also closed its third Southeast Asia-focused fund, raising a record $210 million. Yet another Singapore-based early-stage VC fund, NSI Ventures, is also currently in the process of raising a $125 million second fund.
More and more players are joining the digital payments bandwagon. A report published by Allied Market Research in January 2017 estimated that the global mobile payments market would be worth $3,388 billion by 2022 and Southeast Asia would lead market growth in this period. Local players like Grab and Go-Jek have already announced their own mobile payments offerings in the sector, and Chinese giants WeChat Pay and Alipay are rumoured to be considering expansion into the region as well. Clearly, this is fertile ground for new players, and startups looking to enter the field will be eager for funding to help them establish market presence, funding that firms like Golden Gate Ventures are only too happy to provide.
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