Kejora, Intervest closes Southeast Asia fund at over US$100 million



10/5/2019 – Kejora Ventures, a venture capital firm in Indonesia has hit the final close of its joint fund with South Korean counterpart Intervest, in an oversubscribed fundraising that exceeded its initial target of US$100 million.

This fund which counts as Kejora’s third fund is backed by a group of prominent limited partners (LPs) from South Korea, including Korea Development Bank, Korea Venture Investment Corporation, NH Investment & Securities and Industrial Bank of Korea.

Other LPs also comprise of Barito Pacific Group of Indonesia, a leading commercial bank, and a pension fund from Southeast Asia that remain unnamed.

The fund has already begun investing across the region before its closing. The most notable being its participation in the US$50 million investment round for Indonesian logistics startup SiCepat Ekspres, which is said to be the largest Series A round recorded in Southeast Asia.

“Kejora’s main commitment is to encourage active participation through the Southeast Asian market ecosystem,” said Kejora Founding Partner Andy Zain.

“We have been established in the five major cities in this region, giving us access to the best pipelines in Southeast Asia while enabling us to develop our portfolio,”

Other investments also include financial marketplace startup C88 Group, fashion ecommerce company Sorabel, and Korea’s SmartStudy, the company behind the worldwide success of the Baby Shark phenomenon.

In addition to providing a funding of between US$5 million to US$10 million for each piloting tech company that is in the stage of growth, the company also provides expertise and networking.

“With the final close, we are now putting all our focus on deploying the fund,” explained Kejora’s founding partner Sebastian Togelang.

“We are looking into our verticals in finance, logistics, and education technology, though we keep our eyes open to the potential trends and other blooming industries. We also emphasize on collaboration among our portfolio to help each other grow even faster,” said InterVest CEO Chung Hee Woo.

The CEO also added that InterVest is very optimistic about the various opportunities that exist in Southeast Asia. “We believe that this investment will bring a lot of added value to startup companies in Southeast As.”

This news about the final closing of the fund comes over a year after the first close in December 2017, when it raised more than half of the targeted size at $60 million.

As of March 2019, Togelang claimed that the fund has already deployed almost 30 percent of its fund investment capital.

Singapore based creative AI company Pencil raises $US1.1M seed funding

Pencil 2


9/5/2019 – A Singapore based creative AI firm, Pencil, has successfully raised US$1.1M in seed funding, led by Singapore/US-based VC Wavemaker Partners.

The round was joined by the government-owned SGInnovate and talent investor Entrepreneur First. While NUS Associate Professor Min-Yen Kan and Googler formed angel network Xoogler Angles joined the round as investor-advisor.

Pencil was founded in 2018 by Will Hanschell, formerly a partner and management consultant of creative agency Iris Worldwide, and Sumukh Avadhani an ex-Googler specialized in deep learning and computer vision.

Paul Santos, managing partner of Wavemaker Partners said: “The number one pain point of marketing teams is increasing their ROI. Almost every solution in the market proposes doing so through greater targeting or better customer profiling. But these approaches are fundamentally limited by the amount of content, be it visuals or text, that one can humanly produce.

“Pencil takes a new and complementary approach, allowing teams to generate and distribute personalized content at scale using AI. We are happy to support Will and Sumukh in their vision to put this technology into the hands of the world’s best e-commerce, brand and agency teams by 2020.”

The creative firm will be using the fresh funds to expand engineering and customer success team, grow proprietary datasets and extend patent-pending technology.

Pencil also announced the launch of their first product called Studio. A generative creative platform serving advertisers and marketers. Powered by artificial intelligence, Studio can be used to generate personalized advertisements, both visual and textual, at scale.

Backed by computational power, Studio will first mass generate content which is then picked out by the built-in artificial intelligence technology.

Hanschell commented, “We believe that AI will be as fundamental to creativity in the future as the pencil was in the past. Our goal is to bring the scale and speed of automation to creativity, without killing it. We’re working towards a world where humans and machines collaborate on ideas of all kinds, together pushing the boundaries of what creativity even means.

Pencil’s 2018 client list includes Sephora SEA, POND’S (Unilever) and Mindshare (WPP).