Japan’s Strategic Business Innovator (SBI) Group, popularly known as the SBI Holdings, has created an exclusive tech startup venture capital fund in Singapore to tap into the vibrant digital economy in Southeast Asia.
The deal, which aims to raise $75 million by September 2023, will seek to finance tech startups in areas such as finance, education, agriculture, and health care and will be managed by SBI Ven Capital, its sister venture company in Singapore.
This fund is a confirmation of SBI’s trust in startups in the region despite the volatile global market that has affected many other startups, forcing most of them to call off or delay public offerings and sell-offs. Other partners in this noble venture are Nanyang Technical University, through its intuitive unit, and the Kyoto Life Insurance Group of South Korea.
In a statement, Zach Tan, the SBI Ven Capital’s senior vice president, the company has exuded confidence that the decision to invest in early-stage startups was an assurance that they were keen on supporting the growth of tech startups.
“We have no doubt that there are challenges to be faced. However, we have seen many companies defy the crisis and emerge globally during this time…we are in for the long haul,” Tan Said.
He further added that the last ten years had seen many brands, such as Gojek in Indonesia and Singapore’s Grab, that are globally competitive, emerge from the region. The fund will initially benefit five or six startups; each allocated a few million annually.
Experts estimate that Southeast Asia’s digital economy is poised to double by 2022 to $363 billion and possibly $1 trillion within the next decade. According to Ryosuke Hayashi, the CEO and managing director at SBI Ven Capital, the bottom-up startup investment, coupled with a solid local team of experts, can propel these companies to global competitiveness.