KK Fund’s Fund II powered by continued Japanese interest in SEA
By Karamjit Singh July 22, 2016
- Brother of Softbank founder Masayoshi Son among the investors
- Aims to help startups from Taiwan and HK to expand to SEA
AFTER making 13 investments, with all but one in South-East Asia, Singapore-based Japanese venture fund KK Fund has announced the first closing of its second venture fund, with all the investors coming from Japan, one of them Taizo Son, the brother of Softbank founder Masayoshi Son.
“We are open to international investors and for our second close of Fund II, one Thai investor has already committed to invest,” said KK Fund general partner Koichi Saito (pic), who launched the firm in February 2015.
While Incubate Fund, an existing investor in KK Fund, continues its support and is amongst the investors for its second fund, two Tokyo Stock Exchange listed companies – Sega Sammy Holdings and Septeni Holdings – have come in as well.
Joining them are several family offices and individuals from Japan along with Mistletoe, an investment holding company managed by Taizo Son.
The Sega Sammy Group is involved in a wide range of business operations, encompassing Sammy’s pachislot and pachinko machine business; entertainment content focused on Sega Group’s digital game business, and resorts.
The Septeni group is an Internet advertising agency in Japan, with a media and manga content business as well.
Declining to reveal the size of the first close of Fund II, Koichi nonetheless described it as being “quite big as a seed fund, with investments of up to US$500,000 per startup.”
Most of the announced investments in Fund I were in the US$400,000 to US$500,000 range.
The focus is similar to Fund I, targeting early stage investments in South-East Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, with opportunities in marketplaces, fintech (financial technology), logistics and media / entertainment.
And while only one investment from Fund I has been in Taiwan, Koichi said it has built a strong deal flow from Taiwan since Kuan Hsu, who is from Taiwan, joined KK Fund in November 2015 as general partner.
Actively looking for startups from both Hong Kong and Taiwan, Koichi is hoping that, “given the track record of myself and Kuan [Hsu] in the region, we can help startups from Taiwan and Hong Kong expand to South-East Asia.”
Meanwhile, Hsu said he sees improvements in infrastructure and regulations in South-East Asia as creating opportunities for startups in the region.
“Entrepreneurs in the region, including from Hong Kong and Taiwan, are also maturing alongside the ecosystem, which led us to launch our second fund,” he told Digital News Asia via email.
Asked if he will look at things differently when looking for deals under Fund II, Koichi said judging the capability of founders will still be the key criteria.
“We believe that it is easier to change business models than it is to change founders, especially when it comes to early stage startups,” he added.
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