Jungle Ventures, one of a group of fresh VC firms that burst on the scene in Asia these past few years, is stepping things up after announcing a new $100 million fund.
The Singapore-based firm raised a $10 million fund back in 2012 so its new vehicle is a major upgrade. That first fund was targeted at early-stage deals and now Jungle Ventures is coming of age with its new fund, which will target later stage Series A and Series B deals in addition to some early stage bets.
“There will be a significant increase in the check size with this new fund,” Jungle Ventures Founder and Managing Partner Amit Anand told TechCrunch. “We were cutting $1 million checks before, now we’re typically looking at $5-6 million across a company’s lifecycle — classic Series A or Series B rounds.”
Jungle Ventures’ first fund is impressive. Already it has yielded three exits — Zipdial (acquired by Twitter), Travelmob (acquired by HomeAway) and eBus (acquired by IMD) — and, according to Anand, investors have seen a 50 percent return on capital already. Quick exits aren’t the be-all and end-all of investing, of course, and Anand said the fund’s other investments are well placed for the future. To that end, he revealed that over half of the investors from fund one are financially committed to the second coming, that’s impressive given the very different economics and focus of each one.
The focus will remain the same for Jungle Ventures, with its second fund devoted to finding future “category leaders” in India, Southeast Asia and rest of the Asia Pacific region.
Bullish On Commerce
“We’re very bullish on vertical e-commerce,” Anand told us in an interview. “As the big positions are taken by the likes of [e-commerce giants] Flipkart and Lazada, we believe that you’ll start to see a new wave of companies that look after the vertical segments.”
The new fund has already been used to invest in India-based furniture e-tailer Livspace and ticketing service in Southeast Asia CatchThatBus. While India-based payments firm Momoe, Singapore-based enterprise software firm TradeGecko and US-headquartered peer-to-peer payment startup Abra are other deals that are indicative of areas of interest for Jungle Ventures going forward.
“You’ll see [us invest in] companies that we think will dominate Asia, and Asia-based enterprise companies that are globally positioned,” Anand said, adding that U.S. firms that can make an impact in Asia are also up for consideration.
Jungle Ventures isn’t just scaling up its check size, the company has also grown its own headcount significantly. Yahoo’s former Head of International M&A, David Gowdey, is its largest profile hire, and Anand revealed that he is still on the look out for more operating partners in addition to a few entrepreneurs-in-residence who can work with the firm’s portfolio.
“There aren’t too many teams with the number of years of experience in our sectors, and in Asia,” he said.
Make It Happen
Beyond a good team, Anand shared his belief that investors should proactively hit the ground to make needle-moving partnerships happen for its investments.
“Using our operating partner model and network, we channel them into relationships with potential acquirers. For example, Zipdial started out as a business relationship with Twitter, but then became its first acquisition in Asia,
“You can sit back and wait for unicorns to be formed, but if you want to drive liquidity you have to go out and make that happen,” he explained, although he does credit fortune too.
“Nobody can deny the role that luck plays in this industry, but there are two aspects that have made us successful: we proactively invest a percent of the fund in certain teams and industries with high frequency of M&A,” Anand added.
The fund has closed $65 million from investors thus far, and the Jungle Ventures’ chief expects the fund to fully close within the next three months.
“We’re very selectively bringing on the last few investors, people who will help out our portfolio,” he said. LP already confirmed in the fund include a mixture entrepreneurs and family offices, primarily from Asia but also other parts of the world.
Jungle Ventures’ second fund follows the recent announcement of a second, $50 million fund from Golden Gate Ventures, another young and active pan-Asia VC firm that is based out of Singapore. That’s a sure sign that the region’s startup and tech scene is developing in a promising direction. And obviously more money is great news for founders, particularly though navigating the Series A/Series B corridor which has historically been tricky in Southeast Asia.