Gobi Partners expands Asean team with two new VPs
By Digital News Asia January 2, 2018
- Sees 2017 as inflection point for integration of Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia
- Three Asean focused funds, invested in 172 startups in China, HK and Southeast Asia
REGIONAL venture capital firm, Gobi Partners (Gobi) has announced the promotion of two of its investment associates, Kenneth Tan (pic, left) and Taraec Hussein (pic, right), to the position of vice president.
Singaporean Kenneth Tan started as an investment analyst at Gobi’s headquarters in Shanghai. After two years, he was promoted to associate and relocated to Gobi’s Kuala Lumpur office where he assisted on investments into companies such as Carsome, Crowdo, Favful, Glints, and Travelio. Kenneth was also one of the key team members that helped Gobi secure a co-investor role with the SGInnovate Program. Prior to Gobi, he worked as a business development executive of an eCommerce platform that focused on Japanese products. Kenneth graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration.
Taraec Hussein is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He previously held roles in the CEO’s office and Investments Department at Malaysia Venture Capital Management (Mavcap), where he worked on fundraising for regional venture capital funds. He had also previously worked at Maybank Investment Bank as assistant manager in the Equity Capital Markets Department where he was involved in 13 equity fund raising transactions raising US$5.8 billion across ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
Notable deals during his banking stint include the IPOs of AirAsia X, 7-Eleven Malaysia and Robinson Retail in the Philippines as well as the rights issue and placement of Central Pattana Group’s property fund in Thailand. At Gobi, he is currently spearheading the firm’s TaqwaTech initiative, which is aimed at seeking out investments for Gobi into innovative tech startups that serve Muslim consumers, enterprises and communities. Taraec has also assisted in closing investments into companies such as Tripfez. He holds a B.A. (Hons) in Accounting and Finance from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
Speaking on the subject of Gobi’s growing presence in Asean, founding partner, Thomas G. Tsao, who is based in Kuala Lumpur, said, “2017 will be remembered as the inflection point when the emerging integration of Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia became a reality. Gobi was fortunate to identify this trend early and, as result, we built out regional capabilities and infrastructure before others. These much deserved promotions will help Gobi maintain its leadership, broaden our coverage in Asean and add value for our entrepreneurs and Limited Partners.”
Gobi Partners currently has three Asean-oriented funds. Overall, the firm has invested in 172 startups in China, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, with notable companies being Carsome, Asean’s largest C2B second-hand car trading platform; GoGoVan, a logistics company which recently became a Hong Kong unicorn; and Airwallex, an Australian-based FinTech startup which just received a Series B round of US$6 million from Square Peg. Gobi’s most recent investments in Asean companies include fast-fashion eCommerce website Sale Stock (US$27 million, Series B) and logistics platform Deliveree (US$14.5 million, Series A).
The firm finished 2017 on a high note with a slew of awards won including: The Best VC in Hong Kong from Silicon Dragon; Top 10 Best Chinese Investment Institutions (Within Southeast Asia) by I-yiou; Top 10 Most Competitive VCs in 2017 by 21st Century Business Herald; and 2nd Most Active Southeast Asia Focused PE/VC Investor (2016 -2017) by Asian Venture Capital Journal (AVCJ) and startup blog Traxcn. Forbes China also recently ranked Gobi on their China’s Best VCs, 2017 list and Founding Partner, Thomas G. Tsao, and Partner, Ken Xu, were placed on their Top 100 Best VC Investors in China, 2017 list.