Singapore-based VC firm Qualgro, today announced it has completed the first close of its $100-million second fund. The firm said 60 percent of the fund has already been committed. Qualgro primarily invests across Southeast Asia and Australia, and the current fund follows its first fund of $50 million.
The firm’s key limited partners include listed companies and institutional and financial investors. As part of the first fund, the VC firm made 19 investments over three years, most of which were focussed on the B2B segment in sectors such as AI, data security and analytics, and SaaS. Also, it mainly participated in Series A and B round funding of a company.
The firm confirmed its second fund will also follow the same strategy, with a multi-stage investment focus. The team added there would be a stronger focus and emphasis on Series B funding.
When asked about India, Managing Partner of Qualgro, Heang Chhor, says,
“Qualgro invests mainly in Southeast Asia and Australia, and may potentially invest in other markets. Qualgro Fund 1 has invested in some companies based in India or have a presence in India, such as No Broker, Sirion Labs and Mobikon.”
Founded in 2015, Qualgro focuses on B2B technology, and its team has experience across private equity, venture capital, and management consolation across Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan and Europe. Heang, in a press statement, said that the firm was keen on investing with global-minded entrepreneurs who could build regional and global businesses based on technology advances.
“We believe Southeast Asia, with its more than 600 million people, and extensive research labs and universities, has enough entrepreneurial and engineering talent to build tech companies with comparable quality to the best of other regions in the world. In our current portfolio, we have companies from Southeast Asia that are already successful in China, Europe and the US,” he said.
Heang has over 26 years of experience as a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, and was a member of the McKinsey Global Board. He has also advised multinationals and Asian conglomerates on growth, operations, M&As and organisation in the areas of banking and fintech, consumer and ecommerce, and technology. The other two partners in Qualgro are Jason Edwards and Peter Huynh, and have extensive experience with private equity and venture capital firms.
Some of the firm’s portfolio companies include Singapore-based PatSnap and Eyeota. PatSnap is an intellectual property search and analytics platform and has clients in more than 40 countries and offices in London, Beijing, Singapore, and the US.
Since Qualgro’s initial investment in 2016, PatSnap has expanded by more than 500 employees. Eyeota, on the other hand, is one of the leading suppliers of global audience data, and has offices across Asia, Europe and the US.
“Southeast Asia’s pace of technology-adoption has been one of the fastest in the world. Consumers and businesses have leap-frogged with more sophisticated uses of tech-based products and services. For example, the region has grown quickly into a mobile-first digital economy. Southeast Asia’s internet economy has been growing by an average annual rate of 27 percent, and is on track to exceed $200 billion by 2025, according to a report by Temasek and Google,” says Heang.
Qualgro has also invested in regional players such as Appier, Funding Societies, ShopBack and Wavecell, among others. Some of the Australian startups the firm has invested in include Data Republic, Nura, OpenAgent and Fluence Commerce.
"Qualgro is a hands-on strategic partner, as much as it is our investor. It has provided continued support to our team, and offers meaningful perspectives on the Asian market,” said Paul McCarney, CEO and Co-Founder, Data Republic.
Heang adds that they will look for founding teams with deep insights into the problem spaces they are looking to solve, the skillsets to deliver products with competitive advantage, combined with a focus on high quality execution, and the ambition to build regional or global market leaders.