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Singapore Blue-Chip Veteran to Raise Funds for New Venture Firm

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Koh Boon Hwee, one of Singapore’s most prominent executives, is teaming with four fellow investors to try and raise $100 million for a new venture firm targeting Southeast Asia.

Koh, former chairman of DBS Group Holdings Ltd. and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., and his partners think the time is right to start a new venture capital firm, despite challenges from the coronavirus pandemic. They’ll target early-stage investments in fintech, consumer internet, enterprise software, logistics, healthcare and education.

Altara Ventures is launching as China’s tech behemoths expand into Southeast Asia in the face of growing hostility from the U.S. and other major markets. Tencent Holdings Ltd. has picked Singapore for its beachhead beyond China, joining rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and ByteDance Ltd. in the race to build up a global presence closer to home.

Read more: How a Top Executive in Singapore Decided He Had to Fire Himself

“The level of international investments into Southeast Asia is going to increase even more with ongoing global trade dynamics between geopolitical powers,” said Dave Ng, one of the new firm’s five general partners. “That’s going to continue to boost the ecosystem here.”

Ng and Gavin Teo previously worked at B Capital, Facebook Inc. co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s venture capital house. The other three partners are Koh, Tan Chow Boon and Seow Kiat Wang, who founded Omni Industries Ltd., an electronics components maker acquired by Celestica Inc. in 2001. The trio has backed more than 100 companies, including Razer Inc., and ran private equity firm Credence Partners Pte.

“We are former entrepreneurs, business builders and seasoned investors and know what it takes to scale and exit,” said Koh, who spent over a decade on the board of Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte.

Read more: Southeast Asian Tech Startup Investments Fall 13% in First Half

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