MDI Ventures, KB Investment launch growth-stage Centauri Fund
By Digital News Asia December 13, 2019
- Helmed by Kenneth Li of MDI Ventures and Jong Pil Kim of KB Investment
- Aims to invest at ticket sizes between US$1 million and US$5 million
CENTAURI Fund, a new growth-stage venture capital fund launched with backing from Telkom Indonesia and South Korea’s KB Financial Group. The new fund, set to close at US$150 million RM624.1million), is slated to begin investing in January 2020.
[US$1 = RM4.1604]
Centauri Fund is led by managing partners Kenneth Li and Jong Pil Kim, with headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Seoul, South Korea. Centauri Fund aims to invest in tech startups throughout Asean, with an emphasis on its largest market, Indonesia.
Centauri Fund will seek to invest anywhere between US$1 million and US$5 million per deal, and claims to be keen on multiple startup verticals, including financial technology, e-commerce infrastructure, software-as-a-service, big data, and “digitally native vertical brands.”
Li (pic,right) joins the fund hot off a successful stint at MDI Ventures, a US$140 million+ corporate venture capital initiative under Telkom Indonesia, where his team was able to generate seven successful exit events within three years of its first investment.
Similarly, Jong Pil Kim (pic, above) joins Centauri Fund after cultivating multiple investment exit scenarios for KB Financial Group. Both KB and Telkom will collaborate with Centauri Fund to further tap the potential of tech companies in Southeast Asia.
“The launch of Centauri Fund is a commitment by both TelkomGroup and KB Investment with the aim of expanding their horizons deeper into the Southeast Asian tech ecosystem, as well as supporting Indonesia and the regional startup space,” explains Achmad Sugiarto, director of Strategic Portfolio of TelkomGroup.
“We embrace the new Centauri Fund launched by MDI Ventures and KB Investment as a new vehicle to support the growth of startups in Indonesia and the region. I see a lot of potential for international investors to invest in the digital sector in Indonesia and for that the government fully supports this initiative by TelkomGroup,” says Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahendra Siregar.
“As part of the regulatory body, we will keep improving the ease of investing in Indonesia so that it will have a conducive startup ecosystem across the board from the regulation side, incentives, R&D, as well as human capital to make sure that Indonesia can compete with its neighboring countries.”
“Our thesis revolves around a principal issue of solving for low success rates and the inability of many startups to transition to the next phases of maturity. We are proactively seeking to mitigate this effect by providing direct support from our corporate partners. We refer to this as unlocking the ‘Alpha Phase’ for startups in greater Southeast Asia,” says Li.
According to the Centauri Fund team, Southeast Asia is the next region in the world to experience a wave of what they call “hypergrowth,” one which closely mirrors an economic boom driven by technology that took place in China some 20 years ago.
Similar conditions exist today in Southeast Asia, Li says, highlighting the rise of an emerging middle class and a digital economy that has been able to sew previously fragmented national economies together into a more unified one.
“Take for example the tech consumption leapfrog effect in China, where the majority of the population skipped over using PCs and laptops and went directly to smartphones,” Li explains. “Southeast Asia is experiencing a similar phenomenon. The region is bypassing many aspects of traditional growth and development. This is something we believe we can help accelerate in the region.”
Kim adds, “By partnering with Telkom on the Centauri Fund, KB is showing how serious it is about further expansion into Asean. We believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that by placing a greater focus on Indonesia, we will be able to effectively realise this mission. We see Centauri Fund as the culmination of two industry powerhouses collaborating to forge a new path of discovery.”