Shanghai- and Kuala Lumpur-based venture capital firm Gobi Partners has expanded its ASEAN team and elevated two of its Investments Associates — Singaporean Kenneth Tan and Malaysian Taraec Hussein — to the posts of Vice Presidents.
The promotions come amidst Gobi’s ongoing plans to raise US$200 million for its new fund, Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund, which is set to announce the second close at US$100 million. The fund will target companies in cloud services, e-commerce, fintech and Muslim-focused tech (Taqwa tech). Meranti aims to back 15-plus companies, with average investment size ranging from US$5 million to US$20 million.
Tan started as an Investment Analyst at Gobi’s headquarters in Shanghai. After two years, he was promoted to Associate and relocated to Gobi’s Kuala Lumpur office, where he assisted on investments into companies such as Carsome, Crowdo, Favful, Glints, and Travelio.
Prior to Gobi, he worked as a business development executive of an e-commerce platform that focused on Japanese products. Kenneth graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration.
Hussein, from Kuala Lumpur, previously held roles in the CEO’s office and Investments Department at MAVCAP, where he worked on fundraising for regional venture capital funds. He had also previously worked at Maybank Investment Bank as Assistant Manager in the Equity Capital Markets Department, where he was involved in 13 equity fundraising transactions raising US$5.8 billion across ASEAN.
Notable deals during Hussein banking stint include the IPOs of AirAsia X, 7-Eleven Malaysia and Robinson Retail in the Philippines as well as the rights issue and placement of Central Pattana Group’s property fund in Thailand. At Gobi, he is currently spearheading the firm’s TaqwaTech initiative, which is aimed at seeking out investments for Gobi into innovative tech startups that serve Muslim consumers, enterprises and communities. Hussein has also assisted in closing investments into companies such as Tripfez. He holds a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance from the University of Manchester in the UK.
Founded in 2002, Gobi is a prominent regional VC firm with an investment focus on early-stage, digital media, IT and TMT companies. Headquartered in Shanghai, Gobi has seven offices across China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta. The firm has raised nine funds to date, and has invested in over 170 portfolio companies across China, Hong Kong and ASEAN.
Some of Gobi’s notable investments are C2B second-hand car trading platform Carsome; logistics company GoGoVan, and fintech company Airwallex. Gobi’s most recent investments in ASEAN companies include fast-fashion e-commerce website Sale Stock (US$27 million, Series B) and logistics platform Deliveree (US$14.5 million, Series A).