Stealthy Singapore VC agency Qualgro is elevating a $100M fund – TechCrunch

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Founder Heang Chhor beforehand spent 26 years with McKinsey

Southeast Asia’s enterprise capital house is booming proper now. Openspace Ventures simply introduced the shut of its latest $135 million fund, Golden Gate Ventures hit the primary shut on its upcoming $100 million car, and a 3rd Singapore-based fund can also be elevating massive proper now: Qualgro.

Not like others, Qualgro has operated comparatively underneath the radar to this point.

That’s been very deliberate, in keeping with managing companion Heang Chhor, who began the agency after leaving McKinsey following a 26-year stint that spanned Europe and Asia. Cambodian by delivery, Chhor grew up in France and he rose to develop into a member of the McKinsey International Board, while additionally main the enterprise in Japan.

Previous to McKinsey, Chhor began a variety of companies — of which he says he received a modest exit however loads of expertise — and now he’s turning his consideration to Southeast Asia, the place rising web entry amongst a cumulative base of 650 million shoppers is opening up new alternatives for tech and web companies. The area’s digital financial system is forecast to move $200 billion by 2020, up from an estimated $50 billion in 2017, in keeping with a much-cited report from Temasek and Google.

Qualgro — which stands for ‘high quality’ and ‘development,’ in case you questioned — opened its doorways in 2015 with a maiden $50 million fund. Alongside Chhor is Jason Edwards, previously with PE agency Clearwater Capital and Peter Huynh, who joined from the Singtel Innov8 VC arm. Thus far, Qualgro has made 19 investments, which embrace IP and knowledge agency Patsnap, e-commerce startup Shopback, and lending platform Funding Societies.

The purpose is super-size that with this new fund, which this week accomplished a primary shut of $60 million. The overall goal is $100 million. Qualgro didn’t touch upon the id of its LPs, but it surely mentioned the elevated capital will see it additional its efforts on Sequence B offers.

The agency has targeted on Sequence A and B offers in Southeast Asia. Its major focus is b2b companies to this point, with Chhor significantly eager on those who use knowledge, AI, enterprise and Sass fashions. Past that b2b specialism, the agency seems to differentiate itself by providing worldwide development alternatives to its portfolio. That’s to say that Chhor makes use of his networks the world over to assist Southeast Asia-based firms broaden into new geographical markets — points like organising workplaces and hiring — while additionally tapping his connections inside the enterprise and enterprise worlds.

“As a Southeast Asia-based VC, we’re searching for proficient folks which might be in a position to develop their firm regionally and doubtlessly develop into an actual international participant. It’s slightly bit tough as a result of as a Southeast Asian entrepreneur it’s essential have sure abilities and be on the best enterprise mannequin to entry the worldwide world and compete efficiently [but] we put money into such a expertise no matter their nation in Southeast Asia,” Chhor instructed TechCrunch.

[Left to right] Heang Chhor, Qualgro founder and managing companion, Jason Edwards, co-founder and companion, and Peter Huynh, co-founder and companion

That’s been most seen with its efforts in Australia to this point. For instance, Qualgro has labored intently with Shopback to broaden its service into the nation. Whereas Patsnap, too, has leveraged its investor to broaden into Europe, the place it has a sizeable operation along with its Singapore HQ.

However the strategic offers additionally stream the opposite approach.

Qualgro is seeking to again firms that search the alternatives to maneuver into Southeast Asia. Thus far that has seen it get lively within the Australian market, the place it has completed extra offers that different Southeast Asian VC agency. These embrace Knowledge Republic, which has expanded to Singapore with plans to transcend that, too.

Chhor defined that, past its present scope on Southeast Asia and Australia, the agency is open to pursuing offers with firms in markets like Europe and Japan when there are alternatives for Qualgro to return in as a strategic investor assist develop companies and broaden networks throughout Asia.

Certainly, Qualgro’s concentrate on worldwide is mirrored in its staff which consists of six folks in Singapore with one in Australia and an advisor in Europe.

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