Solo GP behind iSeed SEA launches second Southeast Asia fund • TechCrunch

If you follow financing in Southeast Asia, you are probably familiar with iSeed SEA. Some of the startups the fund has invested in since its launch in 2020 include Dat Bike, Skuad and Upmesh. What you might not know, however, is that iSeed SEA is a solo GP fund. Now that solo GP, AngelList alum Wing Vasiksiri, is back with a new fund, called WV Fund II.

The second fund brings Wing Vasiksiri’s total assets under management to $14 million. The central thesis of iSeed SEA and WV Fund II is to bridge the gap between Southeast Asia and Silicon Valley, since most of Vasiksiri’s network and many of his LPs are in the United States. This means investing in early-stage startups across a wide range of industries. , and introduce them to LPs or operators in the United States, or integrate them as co-investors.

Vasiksiri typically writes checks between $100,000 and $500,000, depending on whether he is the lead investor or not, and the valuation stage of a business.

The 30 startups in Vasiksiri’s portfolio have raised a combined total of over $85 million in follow-on funding from a who’s who of investors, including Sequoia Capital, Y Combinator, AlphaJWC, AC Ventures, East Ventures, Jungle Ventures , Openspace Ventures, Monks Hill Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures and MDI Ventures. Some examples of his investments include Humble, HD, Virtual Internships, Mio, Delos, Staffinc, Rukita and TCC.

Investors in Vasiksiri’s second fund include institutional LPs such as Republic Capital, EGR Partners (Elisabeth de Rothschild’s family office), Kamco Invest and Central Pattana. Individual LPs include Duo founder and CEO Dug Song Albert Wenger and USV managing partner Susan Danziger, Doordash and Square executive Gokul Rajaram, former Airbnb China COO Kum Hong Siew and operators from Dropbox, Discord and Github.

The solo GP model is new to Southeast Asia, but has gained traction in Europe and the United States, where Elad Gill, Lachy Groom and Josh Buckley are examples of investors managing funds themselves.

Vasiksiri told TechCrunch that solo GP funds started in the United States with angel investors who got allocations for good deals and proprietary networks, and wanted to institutionalize their investments. So they raised capital from other sources to invest on a larger scale.

Prior to launching his own funds, Vasiksiri worked in operations at AngelList, where he hooked up with AngelList India founder Utsav Somani, who is now one of his advisors and is the founder of micro-fund iSeed. . The two thought about launching AngelList Southeast Asia, but then the pandemic got in the way of their plans. However, they continued to talk to investors and founders and got excited about the trends they were seeing in the region. These included a relatively high GDP per capita, a growing middle class and more people going online. The first generation of startups were going public, including Grab and Bukalapak, and the downstream capital problem was being solved by funds like Tiger.

Vasiksiri said the benefits of a solo GP fund include speed and transparency, as he is the sole decision maker and can commit to a round within days or even hours.

“There are pros and cons to this model, but I think the biggest benefit is that the shape of your relationship with founders is radically different when the relationship is entirely with you. There’s no sort of hierarchy in there,” he said. “You think of a traditional fund, what a founder does is talk to the analyst, the high-level associate, maybe talk to a partner, then they talk to CIs or GPs. Often, the founder tells the same story.

With a solo GP fund, however, the GP plays all of these roles. “You can dig deeper, you can really build a more genuine and genuine relationship with the Founder by spending more time with him. I think this completely eliminates the principal/agent issue.

Another advantage is that a solo GP can relate to the experiences of the founders. “I consider myself a founder too, just instead of starting a company I started a fund. I think I have this great empathy for the entrepreneur journey, thinking about similar things and understanding how much it It’s hard to be a new entrant competing against incumbents in this space.

Being a solo GP is also useful when working with other investors, as Vasiksiri doesn’t fight for high allocations and he doesn’t have ownership requirements. This allows it to collaborate instead of compete with other funds. “As you grow your fund, your collaborators and competitors change at every stage of their game,” he said. “I think by staying disciplined and small, this fund size allows me to do things like share trades openly, avoid adverse selection from other funds, and build other relationships in a win-win way.”

Vasiksiri is focusing on Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia as its main markets, and is also looking for opportunities in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. Vasiksiri is independent of the sector and focuses instead on the big contributors to each country’s GDP. For example, this includes agriculture and aquaculture in Indonesia, so Vasiksiri invests in companies like Delos, a startup developing sensors and other technologies to help shrimp farmers increase their yields.

Other areas of interest to him include fintech, particularly payments and infrastructure, and gaming. “I think Southeast Asia is ideally positioned for the emergence of a major game publisher or game developer,” he said. “There are a lot of users here, especially with mobile games, and a lot of players are located in Thailand, the Philippines, a lot of creative talent as well.” Climate technology is also another important sector, as Southeast Asia is expected to become a net importer of natural gas by 2025 and must switch to green energy.

Although there are only a handful of solo generalists in Southeast Asia, Vasiksiri expects more to emerge as the ecosystem matures, especially when founders of successful startups become angel investors.

“I think a source of solo GPs could emerge, it’s becoming more institutionalized, from writing personal checks to fundraising,” he said. “It’s the first generation of solo GP here and I think as the ecosystem matures we’ll see a lot more of that.”


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