Returns matter when you’re a GP, especially when raising a fund. And in lieu of past investments, first-time fund managers have to rely on reputation and connections when meeting with LPs.
Just ask Minal Hasan, founder and general partner of K2 Global. In 2015, the onetime journalist (at the San Jose Mercury News) and startup attorney launched a venture fund aimed at investing in Internet and software companies that are looking to scale worldwide.
K2, which has offices in Menlo Park, California, and Singapore, said Feb. 23 that it closed on $183 million in commitments. Hasan wouldn’t identify her LPs, but in an interview earlier in February, she said they’re based mostly in Asia — Indonesia, China and Hong Kong — and the bulk of the investors are multibillion-dollar family offices. The fund’s anchor LP is an Indonesian corporation.
And that’s where the connections come in.
“The fundraising process was not hard,” Hasan told VCJ. “Asian business is much more relationship-based, which is why Silicon Valley VCs don’t often raise money first from Asia unless they have relationships or connections. The trust has to be there.”
Hasan said she made a number of connections as an attorney in Silicon Valley, working with tech companies and venture firms at law firms Gunderson Dettmer, Fenwick & West and Pillsbury Winthrop, and as a student at the University of California, Berkeley. Her co-GP, Ozi Amanat, who’s based in Singapore, was previously a client.
Hasan, 33, grew up in Silicon Valley and her parents were tech entrepreneurs. She said her mom was in semiconductor manufacturing and was previously at KLA-Tencor. Her father was also in tech and was a VC investor in India.
“I come from a highly networked and connected family,” Hasan said.
To date, the firm has invested $58 million in more than 10 companies, including Magic Leap, Spotify, Uber and Paktor, an Asian rival of the dating site Tinder.
A recent K2 global investment is Paytm, an Indian mobile-commerce platform that K2 says has more than 150 million users. It’s expanding globally, having partnered with Alipay (owned by Alibaba Group).
K2 focuses more on consumer-facing tech companies, and the firm is stage-agnostic, although Hasan estimates 60 percent to 75 percent of the current fund is late-stage deals. The firm primarily leads its investments.
Hasan said she hopes to broaden the LP base and look to U.S. investors when it raises its second fund. She also said K2 hopes to add a GP to the second fund, though she offered no timetable on when that will be raised.
As a hijab-wearing woman who travels the world, Hasan said she has encountered no issues yet. But a few weeks into the new U.S. administration, she said she is concerned about how the pending crackdown on immigrants might affect H-1B visas in the country, particularly for large tech companies that tend to employ immigrants.
“It may be tough for international companies to set up offices in the U.S. if there’s growing anti-immigration sentiment here,” said Hasan, who advises tech companies to think globally from day one if they want to succeed on a large scale.
Action Item: For more info about K2 Global and the partners, visit the firm’s website at http://www.k2globalvc.com/
Photo of Minal Hasan, founder and general partner of K2 Global, courtesy of the firm.