(The article has been updated with new details)

Singapore-based Golden Equator Capital (GEC) and Seoul-headquartered Korea Investment Partners (KIP) have announced the launch of a S$120 million (US$88 million) fund to invest in Series A and Series B high-growth technology companies in Southeast Asia.

Named ‘GEC-KIP Technology and Innovation Fund’ (GEC-KIP Fund), the VC firm will reserve a small proportion for Korean companies looking to expand into Southeast Asia via Singapore. It will mainly cover sectors such as proptech, fintech, healthtech, new media & entertainment, e-commerce and edutech.

The average ticket size will be between S$2 million (US$1.5 million) and $S5 million (US$3.7 million) with follow-on potential.

“We tend to look for companies that are tackling the fast-growing millennial economy in Southeast Asia. Leveraging on the growth of mobile penetration and given the young population living across the region (average age of 28 years old), we foresee this target group being the most attractive market for our portfolio companies,” a spokesperson for the fund told e27. “One thing that remains key is our focus to continue backing bold and innovative founders, seeking not only investment returns, but also to promote sustainability and have a meaningful, positive impact on the future generation.”

Both GEC and KIP will be the General Partners (GPs) of the new fund.

As per a press statement, GEC-KIP Fund has already received 65 per cent committed capital and expects to have its first close by the end of August. The final close is expected towards the end of the year.

The fund claims it has strong support from institutional investors as Limited Partners that are strategic in value adding to the fund as well as portfolio companies and their potential exits.

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Daren Tan, Managing Partner of GEC, said: “Given the fragmented tech investment landscape in Southeast Asia, uniting our strengths and network with KIP further bolsters our position. So, when we invest, it is not just capital; we are essentially also lending our portfolio companies the collective expertise and strategic networks, to accelerate their growth and success in the long run.”

The launch of the GEC-KIP Fund will also see KIP establish its foothold in Southeast Asia with Singapore as the headquarter. KIP’s investment professionals will be based in Singapore at SPECTRUM, a curated technology and innovation business club founded by Golden Equator Group. SPECTRUM is also home to the ‘Korea-Singapore Healthcare Incubator’ which was established in September 2017 through an MoU between Golden Equator Group and a Korean entity C&R Healthcare, appointed by the City of Seoul BioHub and Korean Health Industry Development Institution (KHIDI).

Baek Yer Hun, CEO of KIP, said, “The (GEC-KIP) fund will be a positive development for the bilateral relationships between Korea and Singapore as well as the venture capital investment landscape, further cementing both GEC and KIP’s positions as leaders in this space.”

The new fund was also launched in support of the Singapore-Korea government’s efforts in deepening bilateral relations between the two nations. At the end of last week, an MoU was signed between Enterprise Singapore and Ministry of SMEs and Start-ups of the Republic of Korea (MSS) to promote co-innovation and internationalisation co-operations between SMEs and start-ups in Singapore and Korea.

Shirley Crystal Chua, Founder and Group CEO of Golden Equator Group, said: “With the continuous upgrade of the region’s technological and digital capabilities as well as economic integration, there will be ample opportunity for growth and investments. We have always been at the forefront of establishing these connections between Singapore and Korea through our work with both the private and public sectors in Korea. We are positive that having Korea’s leading VC as our partner will help create a stronger start-up ecosystem for Asia via cross learning, knowledge transfer, and network sharing.”