Southeast Asia’s leading PE firm Navis Capital Partners is set to launch its eighth fund in 2018. The vehicle will be significantly larger than the firm’s current fund Navis VII worth US$1.5 billion.
According to Navis, its seventh fund is currently in its third and final year at 70 percent drawn – a stage where most PE players have started to actively plan their new successor fund.
But so far no plans have been finalized for the size or timing of a successor fund, though the firm is said to be looking to raise up to US$2 billion for its next fund.
As an investor with a large presence in Southeast Asia and Australia, Navis focuses on building a portfolio related to food processing, restaurant dining, manufacturing, fast-moving consumer goods, outdoor advertising, auto rentals, consultancy, healthcare, and professional business services.
The Kuala Lumpur-based firm has invested in Chinese restaurant chain Imperial Treasure, Indonesian medical equipment distributor Tawada Healthcare, Vietnam’s Hanoi French Hospital and furniture and lifestyle brand Christian Liaigre, among some.
With Navis VIII, the PE firm plans for smaller investments below US$50 million to further extend its investments into the region. These investments in the range of US$10 million to US$50 million, which Venture Capital firms often find too big and Private Equity players find too small, can work to fill the requirements for certain players.
The firm’s exits for this year include the divestment of its controlling stake in retail apparel South Africa’s The Foschini Group to Australia’s Retail Apparel Group (RAG) in a deal worth US$225 million. The firm also sold its interest in Guardian Early Learning Group, a child care business operating a network of 71 child care centers across Australia, to funds managed and advised by Partners Group.
Navis Partners Capital currently manages several private and public equity funds totaling to US$5 billion in equity capital and has made more than 70 controlling investments since its inception.
It has one of the largest private equity professional teams in Asia, consisting over 60 individuals and supported by over 30 administrative staff in eight offices across the region.
Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Julo has landed an undisclosed seed funding led by Skystar Capital, with participation from East Ventures, Convergence Ventures, and other undisclosed angel investors.
The capital will be used to accelerate financial inclusion in Indonesia, that is focusing on the 100 million underbanked people to obtain loans for their various personal use.
According to Julo’s Co-founder Adriansus Hitijahubessy, it will be primarily spent on product and business development, in addition to machines learning investments, team development and distribution.
“The idea for Julo started when I was building AI-based credit scoring solutions for emerging countries in my previous company,” said Hitijahubessy. “As successful as it was, I realized that instead of helping consumers in Latin America and African countries to gain access to credit, I should be helping people in my home country.”
Hitijahubessy also notes that Indonesia is a suitable seedbed for the fintech lending company, as the country has a large segment of the population at the base of the financial pyramid and low consumer credit liquidity equipped with information technology.
Along with Hans Sebastian and Victor Darmadi, Hitijahubessy set up Julo, a personal loan app for Android users. This allows loan applicants to apply for a small personal loan from their phones, where they are required to submit pictures of personal documents.
Successful applications can receive their loan within the next 24 hours, with a maximum permissible loan size of about US$600 and a payment period up to six months.
Besides, it is the startup’s credit scoring algorithm that allows users to manage loans, due dates, and cash back bonuses paired with alerts and reminders, which draw Skystar Capital to invest.
Edward Gunawan, the Partner of Skystar said, “We believe that having a strong credit scoring algorithm is a key differentiator for P2P lending startups. Driven by a technically strong founding team, Julo is one of the first locally grown P2P lending startups. ”
The startup generates revenue from a provision fee from borrowers and service fees from lenders. Since its launch in January 2017, Julo claims to have 50,000 app downloads and more than thousands lenders.
Julo hopes the company will reach a critical mass of 10,000 borrowers within the year, and accelerate the development of its credit scoring engine.
Singapore’s food and beverage company Katrina Group announced today that it has entered into a subscription and shareholder’s agreement with Big Benefit Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ajisen (China) Holdings.
The deal will see Katrina holding a 30 percent stake in the joint-venture company which manages and operates snack bars, cafes, restaurants and other food services serving Vietnamese-style dishes under the brand – So Pho in Hong Kong and China.
Alan Goh, the Founder, CEO and Executive Chairman of Katrina said, “We are excited to partner Ajisen China, which is one of the largest and most successful restaurant chains in China. This collaboration will extend our geographical reach in China and help us enter the Hong Kong market.”
“It is a bold step in the right direction in further strengthening Katrina as a regional F&B group. We look forward to a long-lasting partnership with Ajisen China and further opportunities to come,” he added.
HKEX-listed Ajisen China is one of the leading restaurant chain operators with a retail network of close to 700 restaurants in 120 cities and 30 provinces in China and Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Katrina Group is a food and beverage business specializing in multi-cuisine concepts and restaurant operations. It owns and operates 33 restaurants in Singapore under nine different brands including Bali Thai and Streats.
In terms of funding, Katrina and Ajisen China will provide a working capital for So Pho International of up to US$450,000 and US$1.05 million respectively, through interest-free shareholder’s loan.
Katrina will also trademark So Pho International as a sole and exclusive right to use, sub-license and franchise the trade name of “So Pho” and associated logos, designs and trade names in mainland China.
Wai Poon, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Ajisen China said, “We are glad that this collaboration has come to fruition. With our strong track record and Katrina’s brand development capabilities, we look forward to growing the “So Pho” brand in China and Hong Kong to build mutual success for both Ajisen China and Katrina.”
Japanese Virtual Reality (VR) startup HoloEyes, which develops surgical simulation content for doctors, announced recently that it has raised 150 million yen (about US$1.3 million) in a Series A round from Nissay Capital.
This follows a 10 million yen (about US$89K) seed round the company has secured from Japanese VR-focused acceleration program Tokyo VR Startups (TVS) after graduating from its 2nd batch. The investment proceeds from the round have been used for product and business development.
Founded in October 2016, HoloEyes was set up by app developer Naoji Taniguchi, surgeon and visiting associate professor Dr. Maki Sugimoto, and Kenichi Shinjo who has previously worked as the producer of AllAbout and COO of Appliya.
Developed for medical use, the startup’s VR content solution known as HoloEyes VR is designed to provide 3-dimensional images for surgeons and other medical staff to understand the surgical procedure more intuitively.
The technology is based on cloud services that can convert a specific patient’s medical diagnoses, such as CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays into polygons for the medical staffs to freely view then in 3D space using VR devices.
Collecting and accumulating the data from CT scans, HoloEyes eventually plans to form 3D human body models based on its medical VR database. Moving forward, the startup may assume a business model based on a search database to retrieve 3D images based on certain keywords.
For example, it could be possible to search “60s male prostate cancer” and retrieve the 3D images for a similar case which can be used by a doctor for diagnosis or surgery training. The possible use cases could also include sharing surgical plans and easier explanation for patients.
In December 2016, the team won the Tech Lab Paak award at the event’s 6th Demo Day, while in January 2017 they were awarded the Amazon AWS prize at the Demo Day of the 1st batch of Brave – the acceleration program by Tokyo-based life science-focused startup VC/ accelerator Beyond Next Ventures.
With the proceeds from Series A, HoloEyes plans to build the system and business base for HoloEyes VR and expand its staff.
Myanmar Online Creations (MOC), one of the country’s first online publishers which provides local content recently announced that venture capital firm BOD Tech has joined its six-digit Series A round closed earlier this month.
The deal was finalized in mid-June, and others who participated in the round include Yangon-based financial advisory firm Trust Venture Partners, and Thaung Su Nyein, the CEO of Information Matrix which produces the 7 Day Journal.
MOC said that the capital from the Series A is intended for its plan to launch up to 10 applications and to set up a broader business plan for 2018.
In fact, the startup already owns five local platforms and applications launched to date since February 2017. These include Onlyinburma.com, a Burmese content portal for the locals in Yangon and Lolburma.com, a social media content platform which allows users to upload funny videos and pictures.
The remaining three sites are Langyaung.com, a business directory listing page which includes accurate GPS mapping for all local businesses; serious dating site Phoosar.com; and ezdin-gar.com, a billing payment system based on QR codes.
“We feel a great synergy and opportunity between the current content and technology of the properties within the BOD portfolio and MOC’s current 5 online sites,” said Win Ohn, the Founder and CEO of Myanmar Online Creations.
Meanwhile, BOD Tech owns flymya.com – a one-stop platform for flight and travel bookings. Aside from MOC, the company has also backed a number of tech-based startups including shopmyar.com, Yangondoor2door, Laundary.com.mm and Star Ticket.
Mike Than Tun Win, the Founder of BOD Technology Company said, “We will be contributing our content and do cross products partnership with MOC products.”