Boston-based venture capital fund MassMutual Ventures today announced the establishment of its US$50 million Southeast Asia-focussed fund MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia (SEA).
“We made the decision just about a year ago to evaluate expanding into SEA and establishing a dedicated fund here. The primary rationale is just the tremendous opportunity that we see in the last several years, of entrepreneurs forming businesses and capital coming into this market to back those businesses,” MassMutual Ventures Managing Director Doug Russell explained to e27 in a phone interview.
Based in Singapore, the fund will be led by Managing Directors Ryan Collins (former Head of Asia at Manulife’s LOFT incubator) and Anvesh Ramineni (former Head of the Investments Team at OpenSpace Ventures).
It aims to invest in 10 to 15 startups in the region over the next three years, with a typical check size of US$2-5 million for each company.
Provided through the general investment account of parent company Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, MassMutual Ventures SEA is targeting Series A and B investments in digital health, fintech, insurtech, and enterprise software.
In identifying potential investments and opportunities for its portfolio companies, MassMutual Ventures SEA will also work with its international insurance holding company MassMutual International.
“The goal is to bring additional capital to the market and the region to help entrepreneurs build their businesses,” Russell said.
When asked about the points that set this fund apart from existing players, Russell stressed on its access to both MassMutual and its global network of other investors and funds in the US and Europe.
As for the qualities that they are looking for in a potential investment, considering the sectors that the fund aims to invest in, in the same interview Collins said that they put emphasis on individual expertise and experience in the startup’s chosen sector.
They will also consider the products and its market opportunities.
“I would also look at the problem that the company is looking to solve, and how they are looking to solve it … Also whether they are trying to become a regional or just a local company,” added Ramineni.
Prior to its entrance to SEA, the firm has invested in seed to growth stage companies in North America, Europe, and Israel.
This new funding brings MassMutual Ventures’s total capital under management to US$250 million.