Burda Principal Investments sets up Singapore office, will make Series B investments in SE Asia

Yon Heong Tung

Albert Shyy, former Principal of GREE Ventures, will head up the European VC’s Singapore office

Burda Principal Investments, the VC arm of European media conglomerate Hubert Burda Media, has announced it has set up an office in Singapore — its first in Asia. It has three other offices in New York, London and Munich.

The Singapore team aims to invest in mature Southeast Asia-based tech companies, with an emphasis on those in the Series B stage.

Prior to this, Burda Principal Investments made early inroads into Southeast Asia through several investments.

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It invested in two startups: Vietnam-based search engine Coc Coc and Thailand-based price comparison site Priceza. Burda also pumped cash into several Southeast Asia-based funds including Golden Gate Ventures, Jungle Ventures and Kejora.

Albert Shyy, a former Principal of GREE Ventures will head up the Singapore office. e27 first reported on his departure from the VC and his plans to join a later stage fund last Friday.

In a short Q&A with e27, Shyy spoke about his plans as Principal of Burda Principal Investments.

1. Why do you think there’s a lack of later stage funding in Southeast Asia?

I think it’s a natural evolution of the ecosystem here, which has only really started to emerge over the past few years – of course we needed to start with early stage funds to support entrepreneurs to prove out business models and market demand.

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I feel the timing is right for later stage funds to start coming in as some of these companies are becoming more mature and ready for growth capital. The lack of big exits so far has also been a deterrent for later stage funds.

2. What verticals would Burda focus on?

We’ll be focusing on consumer-facing (B2C / B2B2C) type of business models. We’ve been successful investing in marketplaces in the US/Europe and will also be looking at this space in the region, but will also look at other areas, particularly those which would disproportionately benefit from leveraging the Burda network and reach.

3.What will be the average deal size of each investment and what would be the limit?

I see it around US$5 million on average for now, but will be flexible. We’ve done deals ranging from US$3 million to US$40 million in other parts of the world.

4.How many deals is Burda planning to make in Southeast Asia? Which markets will it focus on?

A bit too early to say but I’d like to target 3-5 deals this year. Geographically we’ll focus on the ecosystems which have seen more Series A deals as we’ll naturally need those companies to mature to reach Series B stage.

What will Burda’s investment strategy be in Southeast Asia?

I’d like to look at companies who have shown market leadership at least in their home market and who are likely looking to scale out the business perhaps regionally.

How big is the Singapore team?

Three, including myself. The other two came from the Burda Media – Yuan Lee Chung (investment manager) and Peter Kennedy (senior adviser).

Are there already deals lined up in the coming months?

We’re actively engaging with several companies already but nothing imminent yet.

Image Credit: Burda Principal Investments

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