A new VC fund for early-stage Southeast Asian startups called Ficus SEA Fund has just been launched. The Southeast Asian tech startup ecosystem holds over 35 startup unicorns and is the eye for many venture capital firms. In the first half of 2021, venture capital investments in Southeast Asia reached over $10 billion and are estimated to reach $20 million by the end of the year. Therefore, the future for VC investment looks very promising in Southeast Asia as incomes in the region continue to rise. Moreover, COVID-19 also has supercharged digital adoption across the region. Especially the acceptance of new technologies in countries like Vietnam, The Philippines, and Thailand. 

South Korean VC firms are also expanding their investment into Southeast Asia. KB Investment has the Hibiscus Fund ($50 million) in partnership with RHL Ventures in Malaysia and the Centauri Fund ($35 million)  in partnership with MDI Ventures for fintech eCommerce startups in Southeast Asia. LB Investment participated in a funding round in an Indonesian online grocery platform called HappyFresh. Korea Investment Partners created a venture fund with Golden Equator Ventures in Singapore. Furthermore, Intervest is currently managing a $100 million venture fund in Southeast Asia with Indonesia’s Kejora Ventures

Ficus SEA Fund 

Ficus SEA FundThe Ficus SEA Fund was launched by Ficus Capital, the first Shariah-compliant VC management company in the world, and Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP), Malaysia’s largest venture capital firm. The $15 million fund (RM$60 million) will invest in promising early-stage tech startups with high growth potential. In addition, both firms will provide support to startups and entrepreneurs in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. 

Ficus SEA FundMAVCAP is a government-backed VC that not only creates local VC companies but also attracts more foreign VCs and funding into Malaysia. Therefore, this allows a larger pool of funds for Malaysian startups. Some of their notable exits include WebBytes, Aexio Software, Jobstreet.com, Unrealmind, YouthAsia, and Aemulus. 

“In line with our mandate to spearhead the development of the nation’s venture capital (VC) sector, this new VC fund will further strengthen Malaysia’s position in the regional funding ecosystem. Beyond increasing availability of funding to enable local and Southeast Asian startups to scale up their business, this also provides the opportunity for startups to leverage our broad global network together with Ficus Capital, as we strive to cultivate regional and global champions,” said the CEO of MAVCAP, Shahril Anas. 

Ficus SEA FundFicus Capital focuses on long-term investments in promising startups across ASEAN. The firm was founded by a group of experienced investors and C Suite executives with a deep passion for technology, growth, and building long-lasting companies. They recently invested in ZeptoExpress, an on-demand dispatch platform that aims to provide convenience to customers and dispatch riders. Therefore through the platform, customers can make delivery bookings at their convenience. 

The Ficus SEA Fund will focus on sectors such as:

  • Fintech
  • Logistics
  • Healthcare 
  • eCommerce
  • EduTech
  • Greentech
  • Big Data Analytics 
  • Cloud Services

“Malaysia and Southeast Asia are favorable places for deal-hunting; the availability of tech talent, cost advantages relative to other locations, a sizable domestic market, and homegrown expertise in the area of Islamic finance. We welcome MAVCAP’s efforts to orchestrate the digital transformation of the economy and growing the tech ecosystem. Startups are crucial to Malaysia and Southeast Asia. They lead to scale-ups and these will create economic opportunities for the countries in the region,” said the CEO of Ficus Capital, Asyrul Ramali.