M’sia Welcomes SEA’s Largest Venture Capital Firm. This Is What They’re Looking For.
Dale John Wong
SEA’s largest venture capital firm, Vickers Venture Partners, lands in Malaysia.
According to associate director Wei Luo, they’ll be looking at sunrise industry companies with competitive edges, but most importantly, the right entrepreneurs to invest in.
Just yesterday, Vickers Venture Partners—Southeast Asia’s largest venture capital firm—began its Malaysian chapter with the opening of Vickers Venture Partner Advisors. Aiming to leverage on Malaysia’s large disruptive potential, their Malaysian arm will be based centrally in Kuala Lumpur.
Vickers Venture Partners was launched in 2005 by current chairman Dr. Finian Tan and four partners—Khalil Binebine, Jeffrey Chi, Damian Tan and Linda Li—and is a multi-national venture capital fund with a proven track record in Southeast Asia and beyond. The firm has offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and San Diego.
“Southeast Asia is one of the key pillars to our investment strategy. We view the initiatives of the Malaysian Government, led by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), as one of the key attractions of Malaysia,” said Dr. Finian Tan, chairman and co-founder of Vickers Ventures Partners.
As chairman, Dr. Finian Tan is best known as being the first investor in China’s Baidu, investing US$6 million when the startup was still valued at US$20 million. More recently, Dr. Finian invested in San Diego-based biotech firm Samumed, in which he and other co-investors now own approximately 11% of the company now worth US$12 billion.
Vickers Ventures Partners recently also raised SEA’s largest non-government VC fund with a total of US$230 million. At present, its portfolio companies cover life sciences, technology, media, telecommunications as well as consumer and financial services. The total market value of the companies they have invested into currently exceeds US$100 billion.
CEO of MDEC Datuk Yasmin Mahmood was welcoming of Vickers Venture Partners’ entry in Malaysia and said, “In these days of increasing digital transformation and rapid disruption, it is becoming more important than ever to secure and attract more venture capital investment in our ecosystem to encourage entrepreneurship and help to rapidly grow exciting startups into wider markets.”
“The opening of Vickers Venture Partners’ Malaysia headquarters is another testament to the strength of Malaysia’s Digital Economy strategies to foster greater growth and innovation. It also shows their level of confidence in our ecosystem.”
Moving into Malaysia, Vickers Venture Partners will continue to seek out companies that operate within its current portfolio.
Shedding more light on what they look for, associate director Wei Luo said, “Generally, there are three things we look at when we evaluate a company—whether or not it’s in a sunrise industry, whether or not it has a competitive edge, and most important of all, we look at the people behind the company.”
“A great entrepreneur with strength of character can pivot a failing business model into one able to cross the chasm and become a great success,” he explained.
Wei Luo also then detailed the key goals that Vickers Venture Partners had in setting up locally.
“Malaysia represents an ideal location for Vickers as it is the region’s antenna and a key destination in the ‘One Belt One Road’ regional economic development initiative,” he said.
“We hope to identify new investment opportunities from Malaysia, as well as to bring the relevant companies from our portfolio to set up and become part of the startup ecosystem.”