Venture capital firms are an important source of capital for promising start-ups and expanding venture stage companies. Other than providing financial capital, these firms also often lend their expertise and networking capabilities to help companies grow. Within Asia, there are 276 venture capital specialists in total. These firms only target venture stage deals, ranging from providing the initial capital outlay to early stage firms, to capital injection in expansion and late stage companies. 82 venture capital firms focus only on early stage investments, including both seed stage firms and start-ups, while 13 venture capital firms target only expansion/late stage transactions. The remaining firms invest across all stages of the development life cycle. Greater China houses the most venture capital fund managers, with 107 based in the region; followed by the Far East with 62 GPs. 58 and 49 venture capital-focused GPs are headquartered in South Asia and ASEAN respectively.
Venture capital firms based in Asia have raised an aggregate $20.9bn in capital commitments over the past decade, of which approximately 47% has yet to be used. Greater China-based venture capital firms have raised an aggregate $12.5bn in capital commitments over the past decade, making them the largest fundraising group in Asia. They also have the largest proportion of dry powder, amounting to $6.7bn (or 53%) of the capital they have raised over the last ten years. Far East-based venture capital firms, which have raised an aggregate $3.6bn in the same time period, have the lowest estimated dry powder in relation to the aggregate capital raised over the last decade, with only 34% yet to be called up.
Legend Capital Management is the largest venture capital firm in Asia, having raised $1.8bn via five USD-denominated and two CNY-denominated generalist venture funds. The China-based fund manager focuses on the domestic market through both domestic and offshore vehicles, and may invest in other regional markets via its offshore vehicles. Its latest vehicles, the $515mn LC Fund V and the CNY 3.3bn Tianjin Junruiqi Private Equity Partnership, completed fundraising in 2011.
Another significant fund manager with a focus on venture capital investments in Asia is Japan-based SBI Investment. The fund manager has raised $1.1bn in aggregate capital over the past decade. SBI Investment focuses on sectors related to technology, biotechnology and life sciences, including mobile and wireless, environment and energy industries via its sector-specific funds. These vehicles include the technology-focused SBI Neo Technology Investment Fund series and the life science-focused SBI Life Science Technology Investment.