Philippine-based venture capital firm Kickstart Ventures said it seeks to support potential tech unicorns and help companies expand across Southeast Asia through its USD 200 million fund, Manila Standard reported.
“There is a 650-million person opportunity out there [Southeast Asia]. We would like to see more Philippine companies thinking about the unmet needs across Southeast Asia, rather than just the Philippines,” Joan Yao, vice president for investments at Kickstart Ventures, said in an interview with the local paper.
Kickstart Ventures is a wholly owned subsidiary of local telco Globe Telecom launched in 2012. It kicked off with USD 2.4 million for its first fund before it closed its second fund at USD 50 million.
The company, which invests in early-stage to growth-stage tech startups, has supported 42 companies globally, including 30 in the Philippines, the report said. Its investment interests include enterprise solutions, media, content, advertising, health care, smart living, and energy, water, and waste management.
The firm’s portfolio of companies include Wattpad, Mediacorp, C88, and Coins.ph, which was acquired by Indonesian unicorn Gojek, among others.
Last year, Kickstart announced it’s managing the USD 150 million ACTIVE Fund by local conglomerate Ayala Corporation—which also backs Globe. The fund aims to support startups in sectors such as on-demand services, Internet of Things, fintech, blockchain, e-commerce, AI, machine learning, robotics, big data and analytics, and cloud computing.
Yao said they’re looking to pour USD 2 million to USD 10 million into Series A to C global companies through the fund. “We hope to make our first investment in the second quarter of 2020.”
According to her, the potential of local companies to become unicorns depend on how fast Filipinos will adopt digital solutions.
“We still need to see more Filipinos come online and really become comfortable in transacting online and build this digital economy,” she said. “Another thing is that these companies need to expand outside the Philippines. Many of Southeast Asia’s unicorns have come from Indonesia and Singapore, and Malaysia has Grab.”
This article first appeared in Tech in Asia.