Singapore-based VC Jungle Ventures has announced it has made the final close of its US$100 million second fund, which is 10 times the size of its first fund, raised in 2012.
Participating investors include Temasek Holdings, International Finance Corporation, National Research Foundation of Singapore, Hubert Burda Media, as well as leading family office investors such as the Kewalram Chanrai Group and Khoon Hong Kuok.
The second fund will primarily target Series A and B investments in Southeast Asia and will also seek business opportunities in Indian and Australian companies with a keen interest in the region.
Since its inception in 2012, Jungle Ventures has been highly prolific in the investment space, making a total of 42 investments across different verticals. Three of its portfolio startups, Travel Mob, Momoe Technologies, and Zipdial have been successfully acquired by bigger fishes.
In March this year, it teamed up with Infocomm Investments, Accel Partners India and Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates to create a seed-stage VC fund called SeedPlus, which target startups and graduates from successful accelerator programmes across Southeast Asia.
e27 caught up with Amit Anand, Founding & Managing Partner, Jungle Ventures to learn about Jungle Ventures’s strategy and plans.
With the launch of this new US$100 million fund, what is your strategy moving forward? Will you be targeting specific verticals (your portfolio seems to be a rather eclectic mix)?
Fund I invested across 6-7 different verticals. Fund II has been primarily focused on vertical e-commerce, fintech, marketplaces, software & SaaS. More recently we have been investing in B2B e-commerce and consumer lending in the above sectors. The Fund targets Series A and select Series B investments.
What is your investment strategy? What draws you to a company?
Most things we consider are pretty subjective from sector to sector but the one thing we are almost always spending the most time on is the team dynamics. We have seen companies fail and succeed on the back of how the Founding team or the core team work together. Also important to know what is their unique perspective on the problem being solved as against our beliefs. Getting that synergy right has been a big emphasis for us.
What are some tips you would give a startup before they pitch to you?
We are more interested in bottoms-up thinking than top-down pitching that most startups do. It is very easy to project how you could get US$1 billion revenues by charging US$1 from a billion people, but we prefer to understand how you are going to get there or have already gotten to your first 1,000 customers.
Has there been a company that you regretted investing in?
Think I read somewhere that there is only a 0.0006 per cent chance of creating a billion dollar company. With that kind of odds, one can expect that there will be failures along the road and consecutively learning associated with them. In that context, every investment made has been a great learning process for us as well as the Founders.
How has the tech investment landscape changed since your first investment in Sconce solutions four years ago?
Travelmob was the first investment made by Jungle Ventures, and coincidentally, it was also the first exit for the firm!
And yes, the landscape has evolved significantly since then. Not only are we seeing 20X more deals a per year, the founders are also going after much larger opportunities. We had recently done a brief study where we observed that the opportunity in Southeast Asia is bigger if not as much as markets like India but the capital inflows have been lagging behind. In that context, we feel excited about closing this fund as it is a big win for the ecosystem at large.
Do you think Singapore’s gloomy economic outlook will have any profound impact on the VC activity here?
We are committed to investing in the region over the long-term, and remain bullish on Singapore’s rapid evolution as a startup hub for addressing the market opportunity. Investors with operating insights on the region and larger pools of capital will be able to guide their portfolio companies through several ups and downs and one must factor in such situations from a resource planning perspective.
What are some of the biggest trends in tech you see emerging — and would potentially become highly-coveted among VCs — in the next two years?
We are one of the largest investors in fintech startups in the region, and we are always surprised by so much innovation that is still happening. Other areas that we are very excited about are B2B commerce and how several startups are disrupting existing models and/or creating next level efficiencies across that value chain both regionally and globally.
Overall we have consistently invested in vertical e-commerce, fintech, marketplaces, and SaaS and continue to find exciting companies there.