Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Singapore-based venture capital firm Beenext has announced the close of two new funds, totalling a corpus of $160 million (Rs 1,213 crore), with a third of it dedicated towards India, a geography where the early-stage investor has been an active participant.

The first fund—Beenext Emerging Asia Fund—has raised $110 million, and will allocate an estimated $55 million to India, with the rest being utilised to place bets across Southeast Asia. The fund will primarily look to invest in sectors such as ecommerce, fintech, health-tech, agri-tech, edtech, artificial intelligence and data-driven technology domains.

The second fund, which has raised $50 million, will exclusively focus on investing in SaaS businesses in Japan.

Beenext, founded by Teruhide Sato, who also founded Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Japanese ecommerce and investment company Beenos, has been investing in India since 2015, in the process, backing a number of homegrown ventures including BharatPe, Open and Instamojo among others. It has, till date, made about 72 investments in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Separately, Beenos has also backed a number of high-profile ventures like online auto marketplace and services firm Droom, realty portal NoBroker and fashion and lifestyle e-tailer Zilingo, among others.

“While Covid-19 is not something that is going to be easily solved, it is also an opportunity for entrepreneurs to solve problems…Now, more than ever, the importance of tech innovations to assist recovery, is paramount,” Sato told ET over the phone.

Beenext has raised capital from US institutional investors, Japanese corporations and global family offices, including from Southeast Asia, according to Sato. India is currently the largest geography in which Beenext has invested.

This comes at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged the global economy, with countries worldwide going into lockdown to combat the same. Private equity and venture capital deal-making in India has also been shuttered, as investors and their portfolio companies hunker down to conserve cash.

“Even during Covid-19, we haven’t stopped our investment activities, and with this new fund, we will do more and more, particularly for founders that are trying to make changes,” Sato said. “We have not paused our engagement with potential founders for even a minute and are continuing to increase our momentum to find talented leaders in India and elsewhere, building the next great products and solutions.”

The latest set of announcements come about two years after Beenext launched its previous fund, a $95-million investment vehicle, followed by a $30-million top-up fund set up to support select portfolio companies.

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