Vertex Ventures bets on retail internet

Temasek-backed investment fund has exceeded fundraising expectations as it closes its Fund IV. It will continue to bet on the growth of the mobile internet in SEA and India.

Vertex Ventures, the fund backed by Temasek, said on Thursday that it had added another $75 million to its Fund IV targeting Southeast Asia and India.

The fundraising is a follow-on of its $230 million round which it completed in May. The top-up $75 million exceeds its expectations of raising $50 million in six months and marks the final close of the fund.

Vertex intends to deploy the capital in Fund IV before the end of this year, continuing to invest in early-stage technology companies at a Series A level.

“New investors have come in over the last four months,” Ben Mathias, managing partner of Vertex Venture SEA & India told FinanceAsia in a telephone interview.

Investors in the fund include sovereign wealth funds, corporates and family offices across Asia and Europe. Existing investors also topped up the round, according to Mathias.

“Our investors are very positive about Southeast Asia and India, given the strong economic growth in the region, coupled with rapid internet adoption and digitisation of businesses,” Mathias said. “Our earlier funds have had superior returns and are outperforming benchmarks. This track record helped us close the fund so quickly.”

There has been solid growth in the digital economy in Southeast Asia and India, said Mathias. “My interest still lies in social commerce, logistics supply chain and fintech.”

GlowRoad, a startup which uses social media features to sell products online, was one of Vertex Venture’s investments three months ago. It was also one of the final investments for Vertex Venture SEA & India’s Fund III which invested in more than 40 projects. 

“We will continue the investment logic in our Fund IV,” Mathias said. A decision has not been made yet about capital distribution between Southeast Asia and India projects. But the investments of Fund IV will mainly focus on consumer internet projects, fintech and enterprises technology."


Continuous internet penetration across the region has strengthened investors interest. Low-cost smartphones and cheap data will drive SEA's and India’s internet population growth, and it seems that this trend is likely to continue for a while.


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