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Singapore’s Monk’s Hill Ventures wraps up second fund with expanded LP base

The firm, which launched in 2014, is also eyeing an opportunity fund.

Monk’s Hill Ventures quietly wrapped up its second fund late last year, closing on $100 million to invest in early-stage tech companies in South-East Asia.

The firm is also looking at raising a separate opportunity fund, although it declined to comment. It would be the first such vehicle for Monk’s Hill Ventures, which has offices in Singapore and Jakarta.

Temasek, which was an anchor LP in the firm’s $80 million inaugural fund that closed in 2015, is also a main investor in its second main fund.

Monk’s Hill Ventures co-founder and managing partner Peng T Ong, who was in the San Francisco Bay Area last week, declined to discuss details of its limited partners. But he told Venture Capital Journal that the fund’s LPs include a mix of US and international endowments, foundations, family offices and corporations.

Ong said that LPs investing in venture firms have typically put their money into China while they cautiously look at funds from South-East Asia. He said that’s changed recently, in part, because of the US and China trade war, the maturity of the emerging markets economies and the need for diversification.

“Many of our LPs understand emerging markets from investing in China,” said Ong, who was previously a venture partner at the China-focused firm GSR Ventures. “What we’re seeing now is that South-East Asia is becoming the standard market for a lot LPs to invest in, much like China and India have in previous years.”

The strategics have also followed suit. Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba have invested heavily in the South-East Asian region, helping spur the growth of such unicorns as ecommerce company Tokopedia and ride-hailing group Go-Jek, both located in Indonesia.

Venture firms are also stepping up their activity in South-East Asia, with US- and China-focused GGV Capital opening its first Singapore office last year.

Locally, a number of firms in South-East Asia have raised larger successor funds, much like Monk’s Hill Ventures.

Jungle Ventures, a Singapore-based firm that invests throughout the region, closed its third fund in the fall at $240 million, slightly larger than the $220 million it was reportedly targeting. And Jakarta-based East Ventures announced in August that it had raised $75 million for its sixth fund, exceeding its $30 million target, to make early-stage investments in the region.

Ong noted that despite the growth of local firms and investors from China and the US, MHV is not yet facing much competition for deals. The firm specifically invests in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia.

“The quality of companies have gotten better and the good companies can raise money,” he said, noting that South-East Asia now boasts 11 privately held unicorns, five of which have emerged in the last two years.

Among the companies in Monk’s Hill Ventures’ portfolio is Ninja Van, a provider of last-mile delivery services for ecommerce companies. The Singapore company was the first investment the firm made five years ago when it launched. And the company has grown as ecommerce has taken off in South-East Asia. Ninja Van now services seven countries in the region.

Kuo-Yi Lim, co-founder and managing partner of Monk’s Hill Ventures, sits on the board of Ninja Van. Ong said the company is growing at 2x.

Monk’s Hill Ventures has announced three deals so far from its second fund, including Singapore-based Glints, which operates a tech-enabled recruitment and career development platform in South-East Asia, and Stoqo, a B2B food logistics platform in Jakarta.