Alibaba veteran launches $200m new fund ATM Capital to invest in Southeast Asia

ATM Capital to join the race to find the next tech unicorn in Southeast Asia.

Source: Unsplash.

Southeast Asia has been attracting increasing attention from entrepreneurs and capitalists from both within and outside the region. Chinese entrepreneurs are among the first few batches of groundbreakers to set eyes on the area, as their home market’s competitiveness and saturation led some to the exodus. Now the Middle Kingdom’s capitalists are following their step, setting out to their sails to the region.

A newly minted venture capital fund named ATM Capital announced on Thursday the undisclosed amount first delivery of its investment fund, which targets to raise US$200 million and focuses on investing in Southeast Asian startups.

The firm’s cornerstones include some of the most famous names in Chinese tech industry, from Alibaba’s eWTP Technology Fund, 58 Group, Sogou’s chief executive officer WANG Xiaochuan to other successful entrepreneurs.

And according to its press statement, it’s also in collaboration with two unnamed juggernauts with strong presence in logistics and smartphone sector across the region.

The new venture capital fund jumping on the Southeast Asia gold rush was established by an Alibaba-veteran-turned-investors, Tony Qu Tian, who used to work at Alibaba on strategic investments role and then started his own fund BAT Capital, specializing in areas like fintech, consumption upgrade and entertainment, and technological innovation.

ATM Capital has a team of 11 people with offices in Beijing and Jakarta. The firm will invest in Southeast Asia startups particularly in four core areas – logistics, fintech, retail, and business services. At present, ATM Capital’s investments are mainly in SEA’s biggest market, Indonesia.

Southeast Asia is home to 660 million people – the base for future dividends to be reaped – and the underdeveloped infrastructure in the region makes it a blue ocean for our investments, says ATM Capital. As a matter of fact, Chinese internet giants like Alibaba, Tencent, JD.com have already been supporting the emergence of tech unicorns – tech companies that have a minimum of US$1 billion in valuation – that we are seeing in the region. Some prominent illustrations are Lazada, Tokopedia, Go-Jek, and Grab.

The increasing level of venture interest in this region is not new. Fenox Venture Capital, East Ventures, Cento Ventures, and SeedPlus are examples of the other players in the same game.

A study by Golden Gate Ventures tells a similar story. Southeast Asia, today, is exhibiting similar signs to China back in 2005. With that background, alongside extensive support from government grants, incubators, accelerators to university programs that will help to quicken the process, the region is well poised to become the next rapid growing VC market.

Editor: Ben Jiang

(Update: 15:47, Jan 5, 2019, the article has been updated to correct the firm’s investment areas – four instead of three – originally sourced from its official website.)