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Singapore-based Beenext closes two new funds, sharpens focus on India

Five-year-old Beenext has invested in more than 70 early-stage startups in India and 45 companies in Southeast Asia.

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Singapore-headquartered venture capital firm Beenext, in a move that shows its confidence in the Southeast Asian and Indian startup ecosystems, said Tuesday, it has closed two new funds of USD 160 million. The fresh funds will be invested in startups across India, Southeast Asia, and Japan.

The first fund, ‘Beenext Emerging Asia Fund’, which has a corpus of USD 110 million, will focus on early-stage startups in India and Southeast Asia, “to accelerate digital technologies led innovation and growth in the new normal across sectors.”

Beenext plans to allocate 50% or USD 55 million from the first fund, exclusively for the Indian startup ecosystem. The company is looking to target early-stage startups in the country in areas including e-commerce, fintech, health-tech, agri-tech, edtech, and AI and data-driven technology.

This is Beenext’s fourth consecutive fund focused on India, and the biggest outside Southeast Asia.

The five-year-old company said it has allocated a significantly high portion of the fund to India “as it believes in India’s ability to lead innovation and growth in the post-COVID era of accelerated global digitization.”

“COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of global business, but we continue to see startup founders pushing the boundaries to not only survive but thrive in this environment,” said Teruhide Sato, founder and managing partner, Beenext. “The relentless attitude of founders will mean that solutions for a post-COVID world will also come from them.”

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The second fund of USD 50 million will be exclusively for SaaS businesses in Japan to accelerate digital transformation in each industry, the firm stated.

Beenext’s investors include major institutional investors in the US, Japanese corporations, global family offices, and entrepreneurs. The investors would also be appointed as partners in these startups to strengthen their business structure.

Founded in 2015 by Teruhide Sato, who set up the cross border e-commerce and investment platform Beenos in Tokyo in 2000, the company has been focusing on early-stage companies in primarily Southeast Asia, India, Japan, and the US.

In the last five years, it has invested in more than 180 startups globally. So far, it has invested in 72 Indian startups such as real estate firm NoBroker, e-commerce platform for used vehicles, Droom, payment services companies CitrusPay and Instamojo, fintech platform BharatPe, digital therapeutics platform Wellthy, micro-delivery service Milkbasket, and logistics tech platform Locus, among others. In Southeast Asia, its portfolio includes e-commerce firm Zilingo, online marketplace Sendo, and SaaS-led human resources company, SmartHR.

The development comes at a time when Indian early-stage VC firms, as well as a host of angel investor networks, are aggressively scouting for companies that are creating products and services relevant to the new world.

Sato said he believes that there is a need, more than ever, to nurture the entrepreneurial ecosystem to ensure it bounces back as a strong community of founders. Besides writing cheques from the new funds, Beenext plans to connect founders from around the world to expand its founder’s community so that they can gain networking and partnering opportunities.