Lightspeed Venture Partners announced today the launch of its operations in Southeast Asia. Based at the company’s new regional headquarters in Singapore, the Lightspeed team will invest in startups across Southeast Asia from the three global funds that closed earlier this year, totaling about $ 4 billion.
The Southeast Asian team is comprised of partner Akshay Bhushan, who was a founding member of Flipkart’s corporate development team before joining Lightspeed five years ago; partner Bejul Somaia, who helped create Lightspeed India; vice president Pinn Lawjindakul, a veteran of Grab and Tiger Global Management; and senior investment associate Marsha Sugana, who previously worked at L Catterton and Goldman Sachs.
Bhushan told TechCrunch that Lightspeed opened its Singapore office in January to serve as a base for its team as they met with entrepreneurs across the region. Obviously, the startup of COVID-19 reduced travel times, but they continued to talk to startups via video calls and emails.
Lightspeed focuses on early-stage investments and has already invested in some of the most prolific startups in Southeast Asia, such as Grab. Its other portfolio companies in the region are Indonesian startups Chilibeli, a social trading platform, the wholesale B2B marketplace Ula and e-commerce logistics platform Shipper, as well as Singapore software developer NextBillion.AI.
Some Lightspeed investments in other countries have also captured great interest in Southeast Asia as a key market for global expansion, including Indian startups OYO Rooms, Darwinbox and Yellow Messenger.
Having regional operations will allow Lightspeed to work more closely with its portfolio companies and make deeper connections with entrepreneurs, Bhushan said.
He added that the pandemic has led to the rapid adoption of technologies, including platforms that help small businesses digitize their operations or sell online, supply chain solutions and remote work or online services. education.
In sectors such as fintech or logistics, there are also many opportunities in many Southeast Asian countries to build transformative platforms and services. For example, Bhushan said Shipper is focused on solving some of the biggest logistical and logistical challenges of e-commerce vendors in Indonesia, while Grab has made digital payments and other financial services as the easiest insurance. of access.
“The great opportunity in most emerging markets, and this is applicable to most markets in Southeast Asia, is that we generally find that a large part of the fundamental infrastructure is broken, and the founders can exploit the technology to fill those gaps, ”he said. “What excites us are the founders who solve these infrastructure problems, and many of our investments are to this effect.”