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News  18, Dec 2012

Golden Gate Ventures makes first three investments in Southeast Asia

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Golden Gate Ventures TeamSingapore-based incubator, Golden Gate Ventures, has announced its first three investments into TradeGecko, RedMart and Coda Payments.

Golden Gate Ventures today announced its first three investments into TradeGecko, RedMart and Coda Payments. The investments are in line with Golden Gate Ventures’ ambition to position itself as a Southeast Asian specialist. Golden Gate Ventures’ portfolio now includes startups supporting the growth of e-commerce across Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Speaking to founding partner Vinnie Lauria, he shared that the team has been consistently traveling to and meeting with startups in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in search of investment opportunities. Three key factors were drivers of the investment decision. Vinnie shared that they look at the startups’ traction, team and also the fact that their product revolved around the e-commerce industry. Although Golden Gate Ventures does not have a specific focus on e-commerce startups, Vinnie explained that e-commerce startups in Southeast Asia have a higher chance to be successful at an early stage.

According to Vinnie, the team at TradeGecko demonstrated strong technical skills while RedMart had a data-oriented team that employed growth hacking effectively. Other opportunities that Golden Gate Ventures is currently exploring includes content portals with ad-based models and mobile apps with web -based components.

Having being permanently based in Singapore since January this year, Vinnie considers Southeast Asia to be a booming market with more and more quality startups popping up. Hence, Golden Gate Ventures has an aggressive outlook for 2013, with plans to invest in more than 10 startup in the coming year. The Golden Gate Ventures team will continue to focus on the six markets mentioned earlier as they are already finding themselves stretched thin with all the opportunities present.

Vinnie shared his opinions that Singapore still remains a market where it is easy to do business in. And also where a multi-national, multi-background community provides a good pool of talent. Indonesia presents a large market opportunity for startups while founding partner, Jeff Paine, discovered that Thailand’s startup scene is heating up. Golden Gate Ventures is also working with Cradle in Malaysia where the later is providing coaching and mentoring programs to startups in the country.

For startups looking to see which incubator suits them best. Vinnie mentioned that the Golden Gate Ventures has an affinity for business-to-consumer or business-to-small businesses products, as these two categories share similar tactics, market access and cultural understanding which the team has most experience in.

Read the full press release below.

Press Release

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SINGAPORE – 18 December 2012 – Golden Gate Ventures (GGV), an early stage technology seed fund focused on Southeast Asia, today announced its first three investments into TradeGecko, RedMart and Coda Payments. GGV’s portfolio now spans start-ups supporting the growth of e-commerce across Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

The investments realize GGV’s ambition to position itself as a South East Asia specialist, operating from a regional hub in Singapore and with strong links to Silicon Valley.

Vinnie Lauria, Founding Partner at GGV, said: “We selected these investees for two reasons. First, for their strength as high-growth start-ups that are already impacting regional buying and selling behaviours positively and expanding e-commerce in Asia. Second, because they plug us into a market of more than half a billion people. Southeast Asia sees 650,000 new internet users come online each month. Smart mobile devices are the future in this part of the world and our portfolio puts us right at the heart of the mobile space.”

GGV’s investment decisions are based on more than a year spent researching the region, meeting start-ups and hosting events across a dozen cities. In that time, GGV’s team has met with over 400 teams, built a community of over 1,800 talented individuals and logged over 500,000 kilometers, sometimes covering 3 countries in the same week. The research has given GGV an unrivalled picture of grassroots market opportunities and challenges across South East Asia.

Paul Bragiel, Founding Partner at GGV, said: “While e-commerce is a strong thread through our first investments, it is only a starting point. We are actively looking across content sites, apps, and B2C services and we are looking in places that other funds are not represented. Many people I talk with in the valley think Asia is just China and India but we see a huge booming market across the region. We are really excited to be at the heart of it.”

Each of GGV’s new investee start-ups rides a wave of change in South East Asia. Coda Payments serves the rapidly expanding universe of online properties that seek to charge their users for content and services. TradeGecko solves as a chronic problem for regional wholesalers who want to connect better with their customers. RedMart enables internet users to buy everyday home essentials online.

While western markets continue to stay flat, Southeast Asia is booming, with some countries seeing double digit GDP growth. GGV has seen a big bump since 2011 in the number of new entrepreneurs pitching quality startups, and expects that trend to continue through 2013. GGV has an aggressive outlook for 2013, with plans for more than 10 investments in the coming year.

Jeffrey Paine, Founding Partner at GGV, said: “With so much activity in the region, I find myself hustling 24×7, and I love it.  I’m meeting inspiring entrepreneurs every day and that gives me the energy to keep moving forward.  Southeast Asia is brimming with smart, talented, and self-driven entrepreneurs. Mix that with double digit growth in the region and the stage looks set for us to create a number of breakout successes over the next few years.  It reminds me of what China was in the early 2000′s. It seems quite fortuitous that we launched our fund in the Year of the Dragon!”

Information For Editors

Golden Gate Ventures – http://goldengate.vc

Golden Gate Ventures (GGV) operates a seed investment program for digital start-up companies that have already launched a product and achieved market traction. With offices in Singapore and San Francisco, Golden Gate Ventures brings access to regional and international mentors, invitations to networking events across the region, and access to an active investor network across Silicon Valley and Asia. Since March 2012, Golden Gate Ventures has been accredited as a Technology Incubation Scheme (TIS) incubator by Singapore’s National Research Foundation.

GGV was founded by 3 former entrepreneurs. In Singapore, Jeffrey Paine ran the Founder Institute and was active as a start-up mentor and investor. In San Francisco, Paul Bragiel sought to build on his success of San Francisco’s i/o ventures model in new markets, and Vinnie Lauria had built Lefora.com, a hosted forum service which grew to over 100,000+ communities and was acquired in 2010. Together the three founders were able to draw together a strong mix of Limited Partners from Silicon Valley, such as Dave McClure (500 Startups), Aaron Patzer (Mint.com), and Russel Simmons (Paypal Mafia and Yelp.com) and from Singapore, such as Darius Cheung (tenCube).

TradeGecko Pte Ltd – http://tradegecko.com

TradeGecko was founded by three entrepreneurs from New Zealand in January 2012. It makes Inventory and Sales management easy for small- and medium-sized businesses. TradeGecko was selected for, and accelerated through, the JFDI-Innov8 2012 Bootcamp program, where its team received intensive mentoring and the business attracted substantial investor interest.

RedMart.comhttp://redmart.com/

RedMart.com is a Singapore based online grocer that delivers everyday essentials, such as diapers, rice, soda, and bottled water to busy consumers. RedMart is backed by well-respected investors and advisors, such as Golden Gate Ventures, Toivo Annus (Skype Co-founder), Jason Ackerman (Co-founder and CEO of online grocer FreshDirect.com in US), Boon Ling Yee (Singaporean, former Commercial Director of Tesco China), and Anne-Ev Juette-Enzmann (former Marketing Strategy Director at Tesco Thailand).

Coda Payments – http://codapayments.com/

Coda Payments offers a convenient way for customers to make purchases online using their pre- or post-paid mobile accounts, while helping mobile operators manage a sophisticated margin differentiation program that allows them to better monetize their direct billing capabilities. Coda is active in Indonesia and Malaysia, and headquartered in Singapore.

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Image Credits: Golden Gate Ventures

Joash Wee

Joash Wee

Joash is passionate about tech startups and building the technopreneur community. While completing his undergraduate business degree, he decided to take a programming class just for kicks. Fortunately for him, he managed to scrap a pass and it now helps him get by with the geek talk. When he is not discussing about startups or the latest technologies, you can find him reading off his Kindle or taking photos with silver halide salts, old school.

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