Covid-19 unlocked new capital for ASEAN’s tech investors
Published on July 27, 2022
Adrian Li, founder and managing partner of AC Ventures, recently spoke in a panel discussion at the AVCJ Private Equity & Venture Forum in Singapore on 26 July 2022.
The session was titled “Venture capital in Southeast Asia: Shifting landscape” and Adrian discussed how Indonesia’s tech investors were able to pull in new capital from overseas in recent years.
When asked by moderator Sean Murphy about how the investing work environment has changed in the aftermath of the pandemic, Adrian shared that remote and hybrid working setups have been something of an apex for tech investors like AC Ventures, particularly in terms of onboarding new limited partners.
“I think the flexibility introduced by Covid in being able to work and invest remotely has actually opened up new capital pools. What we saw in 2020 and 2021, travel was restricted, and yet, there was a lot of interest from US investors looking to Indonesia. We worked closely with them, as a local company, to help them get over that trust gap,” explained Adrian.
New capital, less jet lag
He went on the mention that western investors needed a way to get comfortable with the idea of putting money into companies and founders whom they’d never met in person. This is where AC Ventures sought to bridge the void.
“And you know what? It did work. We saw more and more cross-over funds and late-stage capital allocators come direct,” he added. “I think that’s been tremendous in terms of being able to do business around the world. Before, there was probably a lot of wasted travel. This form of hybrid is fantastic. We raised our last US$205 million fund almost entirely during Covid, so it was all Zoom calls. Some LPs we are just meeting for the first time this year.”
According to the investor, the ability to liaise with new key players on the other side of the world is extremely powerful for startup backers in Southeast Asia – a place from which you’d otherwise have to take a 23-hour flight just to get a deal done.
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