Lightspeed Venture Partners expands to Southeast Asia – ETtech

Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Venture capital investment firm Lightspeed Venture Partners is expanding its operations to Southeast Asia, the Silicon Valley-based blue-chip investor announced on Thursday.

In an official statement, the firm, which has backed a number of top Indian startups such as hospitality chain Oyo Hotels & Homes, ed-tech major Byju’s, business-to-business online marketplace Udaan, social media company Sharechat and healthcare data platform Innovaccer among others, said it has established its regional headquarters in Singapore, and will have a strong focus on the island nation, as well as Indonesia.

“Our mission at Lightspeed has stayed the same, even as our global presence has expanded from Silicon Valley, Israel and China to India, Europe and now Southeast Asia. To support bold entrepreneurs who are building tomorrow’s companies today,” Ravi Mhatre, founder and managing director at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said in the official statement.

“Southeast Asia is undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing innovation ecosystems and we look forward to building deep, long-lasting relationships with founders and the broader tech community.” he said.

The firm also said it is building a dedicated investment team for the region which will include two India partners – Bejul Somaia, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, and who has played a leading role in setting up the Menlo Park, California-based investor’s operations in Asia’s third-largest economy, and Akshay Bhushan, also a partner.

The company, however, did not specify if Somaia and Bhushan will both also be relocating to Singapore.

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“With a large, tech-savvy and young population, Southeast Asia is leading the charge in technology-driven innovation. We have a strong belief in the opportunities here and the capabilities that founders of this region have demonstrated,” said Bejul Somaia, partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners. “Our global footprint, combined with the local team’s expertise, will enable the region’s founders to better leverage global opportunities and we are thrilled to partner with them.”

The latest announcement comes about five months after the venture capital firm announced the closure of three new investment vehicles, totalling $4.2 billion in fresh capital commitments.

Lightspeed Venture Partners XIII has raised $890 million and will support early-stage companies from seed to Series B rounds, while Lightspeed Venture Partners Select IV, which has a corpus of $1.83 billion, will look to accelerate existing portfolio companies and identify new investments.

And, Lightspeed Opportunity Fund will use $1.5 billion to invest in breakout companies across the markets that the multi-stage venture capital firm operates in, including China, India, Israel, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Separately, last month, ET had reported that the firm’s local unit had raised $275 million for its third India-focused fund. The firm, which registered exits of nearly $900 million last year from its two top bets – Oyo, and partly from Byju’s, has till date deployed about $700 million in India across two dedicated funds and its global arm.

It currently manages over $10 billion of committed capital. In the US, it counts companies, such as Snap, Nest, Nutanix, China’s Pinduoduo and Goop, among others, in its portfolio.

Lightspeed has already a strong presence in SE Asia, having backed a number of leading ventures, including, regional super-app Grab, social commerce platform Chilibeli, B2B marketplace app Ula, shipping gateway company Shipper and enterprise artificial intelligence software provider NextBillion.ai.



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