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Asia-Based Investors with a Preference for Venture Capital funds – October 2013

Venture capital is a mainstay of private equity globally, often grouped separately from the wider asset class due to its unique characteristics and appeal. In the last few years, venture capital funds have been a prominent part of the Asia-based private equity fundraising pool by number, reaching a peak of 93 such funds closing in 2011. To-date in 2013, only 19 Asia-focused venture capital funds have reached a final close, collecting only $1.3bn in aggregate commitments, at an average size of $87mn per fund. In this blog, we take a look at the LPs who are interested in this space and discover that there is still marked investor interest in the strategy from within Asia.

Preqin’s Investor Intelligence tracks a total of 338 Asia-based investors that are actively seeking commitments to or have previously invested in venture capital vehicles. Of these Asia-based investors, 97% are interested in venture capital vehicles generally, and have no particular stage focus. These venture funds range from seed investments to expansion/late-stage funding. Comparatively, only 3% of the group will commit to venture vehicles at a specific investment stage.

In term of investor type, corporate investors are the most common investor group amongst Asia-based Investors with a Preference for Venture Capital Vehicles, representing 21% of the corpus. Banks represent the next most significant group of investors in this pool at 14%, while government agencies make up 12% and investment companied, insurance companies and funds of funds managers each represent 8%. Pension funds (public and private) are responsible for 6% of the corpus, 5% are private equity firms, and 4% are wealth managers and family offices (single and multi) respectively. The remaining 10% is a mix of other investor types, including sovereign wealth funds, asset managers and foundations.

Two of the largest Asian economies, China and Japan are home to almost half of all Asia-based investors with a preference for venture capital funds, representing 25% and 23% respectively. This is followed by those that call South Korea home (14 %) and those headquartered in India (13%). Taiwan (7%), Singapore (6%) and Hong Kong (6%), share a fairly equal distribution in this investor pool. The remaining 6% of these investors are LPs that are located in Brunei, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

In terms of geographic preference, within Asia, a sizeable 46% of Asia-based investors with a preference for venture capital funds have a geographic preference for Greater China. Besides investing in Asia, Asia-based investors also look outside the borders of Asia when committing to venture capital vehicles. Thirty percent target North America as an investment destination and Europe remains attractive to 18% of these Asia-based investors. Twenty-one percent of the group will target opportunities in a range of emerging markets. 

Lastly, with regards to fund manager specifics, 42% of Asia-based investors with a preference for venture capital funds will invest in first-time funds. Twenty percent will consider such managers and 7% will invest in spin-off teams. Only 31% of the corpus will not invest in first-time funds at all. In terms of investing prior to a fund holding a first-close, more than half of these investors, 61%, are willing to commit to a suitable vehicles first-close investor, and a further 18% will consider doing so. The remaining 21% will not commit as a first close investor. Sixty-three percent of these investors will look to co-invest alongside GPs and a further 7% of the corpus will consider doing so. The remaining 30% are not interested in co-investment opportunities.

Keywords: Asia, investors, venture capital