AppWorks closes third fund with $150M for Taiwan and Southeast Asia startups

AppWorks, the Taipei-based venture capital firm focused on Taiwan and Southeast Asia, announced today it has closed its oversubscribed third fund, raising $150 million. AppWorks Fund III’s limited partners include Taiwan Mobile, Axiom Asia Private Capital, Fubon Life, TransGlobe Life, Hongtai Group, Wistron, Cathay Life, Phison Electronics and Taiwan’s National Development Fund. Many of these LPs also participated in AppWorks’ $50 million second fund in 2014.

AppWorks’ total assets under management (AUM) is now $212 million. As part of Fund III’s close, AppWorks is recruiting new investment associates and analysts, especially ones who will focus on sourcing deals throughout Southeast Asia.

Jamie Lin, the firm’s chairman and founding partner, told TechCrunch that Fund III had an initial target of $100 million, but surpassed it because of the strong performance of AppWorks’ second fund.

Fund II’s portfolio includes Lalamove and 91APP, and at the end of July 2021, its total value to paid-in (TVPI), or the return multiple net of fees, reached 3.3x. By comparison, the top quartile of global VC and private equity funds launched around the same time have a TVPI of 2.4x, according to data from Cambridge Associates. Fund II also achieved internal rate of return (IRR) of 34.7%, compared to 26.1% for the other funds.

Founded in 2009, AppWorks started its accelerator program before launching a $11 million debut fund in 2012. AppWorks’ ecosystem now includes 414 active startups that have collectively raised $4.3 billion, and have an aggregate valuation of $17.4 billion. Over the next 10 years, AppWorks’ goal is to increase that to 1,000 active startups with a collective value of more than $100 billion.

Lin said AppWorks has a strong incoming pipeline because many startups in its ecosystem, including ones run by accelerator alumni and its mentor network of about 100 seasoned entrepreneurs, have reached product-market fit, are scalable and need to raise funding to accelerate growth.

Fund III is earmarked for a portfolio of about 40 startups, split evenly between investments starting at $2 million in Series A to Series C rounds, and seed-stage investments. Seed-stage checks can range in size from about $50,000 to $200,000, depending on a startup’s needs. Part of the fund’s capital will also go toward AppWorks’ current portfolio companies as they reach maturation.

AppWorks’ three main investment themes are Southeast Asia, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Lin said that many of AppWorks accelerator graduates over the past three to five years are from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and, increasingly, Indonesia and the Philippines. (AppWorks also serves as an LP in about 15 seed funds across Southeast Asia, which helped it maintain strong deal flow despite pandemic travel restrictions).

AppWorks’ current blockchain investments include Dapper Labs, Animoca Brands and Splinterlands. Lin is especially keen on NFTs and their “ability to bridge the physical world and digital world,” plus blockchain’s potential to change how people game (for example, the play-to-earn model Splinterlands is known for).

Investing in a mix of seed- and growth-stage deals means Fund III’s schedule will be more evenly spread out. The approach is “better for LPs, but also mostly comes from our philosophy of putting founders front and center,” Lin said. “A lot of our accelerator alumni startups are by first-time founders, so they need help all the way from seed stage. Many of our mentors have already raised seed or Series A rounds, and they come to us when they need someone to lead a Series B of $10, $15 or $20 million. It stems from our particular deal flow, since we’re mainly supporting our alumni founders and mentors, so we have two very different types of deal flows.”

Fund III has already backed AppWorks accelerator alumni like Pickone, WeMo Scooter, Omnichat, XREX, Blocto, SoopahGenius and Docosan. Investments from its mentor network include Carousell, Dapper Labs, Tiki, Dcard, Yummy Corp and Animoca Brands.

 

#appworks, #fund, #fundings-exits, #southeast-asia, #startups, #taiwan, #tc, #venture-capital

Equity Live: This is what leadership smells like

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week we did something fun and different and good: a live show! A good number of people came, and asked questions, and altogether, it was a blast.

Danny, Natasha, and Alex had a lovely time with the regular work, while Grace and Chris and Kevin made the whole operation function. We’ll likely post a bonus episode of the Q&A on Saturday if people are interested in Equity After Hours.

That aside, what did we talk about in a longer-than-usual episode? Here’s the rundown:

It’s always fun to play around with our show, and thank you to everyone who came out and supported us in our first-ever, but probably not last-ever, virtual live show. We are back to regular, however, starting Monday.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#a16z, #academy-investor-network, #buzzfeed, #crypto, #diversity, #early-stage, #edtech, #equity, #equity-podcast, #figma, #fintech, #fund, #fundings-exits, #insight-partners, #majority, #mfast, #military, #neobanks, #spac, #startups, #vietnam, #waitwhat

Inovia Capital raises $450M for second growth-stage investment fund

Montreal-headquartered Inovia Capital has raised $450 million for Growth Fund II, the firm’s second growth-stage investment fund. The close of this funding comes just a little over two years after the announcement of its first in February 2019, a $400 million pool of investment capital that marked Inovia’s first foray beyond the early stage deals it originally focused on.

Inovia now has investments across every stage of a company’s development — including retaining stakes in some of its portfolio companies that have had successful exits to the public markets, like Lightspeed, the point-of-sale and commerce company that went public in a nearly $400 million public offering on both the NYSE and the TSX last year.

As with Growth Fund I, the goal of Growth Fund II is to invest in companies with a focus primarily on Canadian startups, but also looking to targets in the U.S. and EU, where Inovia also maintains offices. The firms’ partners, including Chris Arsenault, Dennis Kavelman, and former Google CFO Patrick Pichette, have focused on building out a team of experienced operators to help their portfolio companies, and invest specifically in areas of particular need for startups outside the Valley, like sourcing high-demand, senior talent with high-profile tech industry experience.

Inovia’s original Growth Fund was based on an assumption that the firm could leverage its relationships and its experience to deliver value to its portfolio companies not just when they’re starting out, but across their growth cycles. Arsenault explained in an interview that Fund I was kind of a proof point that that this assumption was correct, which then paid big dividends when the firm went out to raise Fund II last year.

“We basically built the team around Dennis, Patrick and myself,” he said. “We really followed through on our key assumptions over why it made sense for Inovia to use its platform to actually build a growth stage fund that would benefit not only from insights into the portfolio, but also all of the relationships and the platform that we built over the last decade.”

What needed proving, Arsenault said, was that Inovia could stand toe-to-toe with the growth-focused firms that had acted as follow-on investors for its early stage deals over the years. That was no easy task, when you consider that Inovia provided deal flow to some of the most respected venture firms in technology, including Bessemer, KKR, TA Ventures and Sequoia.

Inovia hired a lot of operators with experience at high-growth companies, and focused on being able to shepherd its investments through challenges like building a real board, and engineering a cap table to properly manage and prepare secondary sales. With a plan to invest in between 10 to 12 companies with the $400 million in Fund I, Inovia began making deals – the first was with Lightspeed, and then they got into Forward (tech-enabled primary health care), Hopper and Snaptravel (two travel industry startups) and more.

Inovia Capital growth partners Chris Arsenault, Dennis Kavelman and Patrick Pichette (left to right)

Most of the companies that Lightspeed picked with Fund I (it did 10 deals in total) ended up having a very strong 2020 – including, surprisingly, all the travel-focused startups. Based on the strength of their performance, Arsenault and his partners decided to accelerate their timetable for raising Fund II, and found LPs more than willing. They ended up capping the fund at $450 million (with a target of between 10 to 12 investments, as with Fund I) given what Arsenault says felt like the right size for managing across the investment and operating team, despite available demand to likely raise quite a bit more.

Arsenault noted that most of the LPs contributing to this fund also had capital in the first, though some new investors have also signed on. And while Inovia’s focus is not strictly Canadian, he added that the firm’s success, along with the makeup of its investment partners and portfolio (two-thirds of the companies it has backed are Canadian) tells a story of a changing investment landscape north of the border.

“The majority of our LPs are Canadian, and I take it to heart that it’s important to create patterns of success, so that people can look towards models and either replicate or adapt to their own situation,” Arsenault said. “I think that we need more success stories that people can look at and say, ‘I can do the same thing, or I can do better.’ And the fact that our LPs came back with us, and when you look at, you know, what Georgian [Partners] is doing, and what Novacap is doing, and what OMERS Growth – this is nothing like the VC ecosystem and industry that I was in 10 years ago, right? We’re definitely on another level now in Canada.”

He added that there are examples at every stage of company-building, citing the new Backbone Angels collective led by a number of post and current Shopify employees including Arati Sharma, Atless Clark, Lynsey Thornton and Alexandra Clark. Arsenault also pointed to Lightspeed’s decision to list first on the TSX before the NYSE as a sign of newfound tech industry maturity in the Canadian context.

Finally, Arsenault credits an unusual ‘X’ factor in how Inovia has been able to put together this second fund and manage deep involvement in its very active portfolio companies over the last year: the mostly remote conditions brought on by the necessities of the pandemic.

“It would have been impossible to do what we did within the portfolio, with the portfolio, fundraising a new fund, generating our best year, in terms of exits last year, we had the New York Stock Exchange IPO for Lightspeed, we had a dozen transactions of acquisitions where our portfolio companies are doing the acquiring,” he said. “I don’t know how we would have done what we’ve done, had we been traveling and had a normal life.”

#accel, #canada, #cfo, #chris-arsenault, #corporate-finance, #european-union, #finance, #fund, #funding, #google, #hopper, #inovia, #inovia-capital, #investment, #lightspeed, #money, #montreal, #patrick-pichette, #shopify, #ta-ventures, #tc, #united-states, #venture-capital

Foresite Capital raises $969 million fund to invest in healthcare startups across all stages of growth

Health and life science specialist investment firm Foresite Capital has raised a new fund, its fifth to date, totally $969 million in commitments from LPs. This is the firm’s largest fund to date, and was oversubscribed relative to its original target according to fund CEO and founder Dr. Jim Tananbaum, who told me that while the fundraising process started out slow in the early months of the pandemic, it gained steam quickly starting around last fall and ultimately exceeded expectations.

This latest fund actually makes up two separate investment vehicles, Foresite Capital Fund V, and Foresite Capital Opportunity Fund V, but Tananbaum says that the money will be used to fuel investments in line with its existing approach, which includes companies ranging from early- to late-stage, and everything in between. Foresite’s approach is designed to help it be uniquely positioned to shepherd companies from founding (they also have a company-building incubator) all the way to public market exit – and even beyond. Tananbaum said that they’re also very interested in coming in later to startups they have have missed out on at earlier stages of their growth, however.

Image Credits: Foresite Capital

“We can also come into a later situation that’s competitive with a number of hedge funds, and bring something unique to the table, because we have all these value added resources that we used to start companies,” Tananbaum said. “So we have a competitive advantage for later stage deals, and we have a competitive advantage for early stage deals, by virtue of being able to function at a high level in the capital markets.”

Foresite’s other advantage, according to Tananbaum, is that it has long focused on the intersection of traditional tech business mechanics and biotech. That approach has especially paid off in recent years, he says, since the gap between the two continues to narrow.

“We’ve just had this enormous believe that technology, and tools and data science, machine learning, biotechnology, biology, and genetics – they are going to come together,” he told me. “There hasn’t been an organization out there that really speaks both languages well for entrepreneurs, and knows how to bring that diverse set of people together. So that’s what we specialized i,n and we have a lot of resources and a lot of cross-lingual resources, so that techies that can talk to biotechies, and biotechies can talk to techies.”

Foresite extended this approach to company formation with the creation of Foresite Labs, an incubation platform that it spun up in October 2019 to leverage this experience at the earliest possible stage of startup founding. It’s run by Dr. Vik Bajaj, who was previously co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Alphabet’s Verily health sciences enterprise.

“What’s going on, or last couple decades, is that the innovation cycles are getting faster and faster,” Tananbaum said. “So and then at some point, the people that are having the really big wins on the public side are saying, ‘Well, these really big wins are being driven by innovation, and by quality science, so let’s go a little bit more upstream on the quality science.’”

That has combined with shorter and shorter healthcare product development cycles, he added, aided by general improvements in technology. Tananbaum pointed out that when he began Foresite in 2011, even, the time horizons for returns on healthcare investments were significantly longer, and at the outside edge of the tolerances of venture economics. Now, however, they’re much closer to those found in the general tech startup ecosystem, even in the case of fundamental scientific breakthroughs.

CAMBRIDGE – DECEMBER 1: Stephanie Chandler, Relay Therapeutics Office Manager, demonstrates how she and her fellow co-workers at the company administer their own COVID tests inside the COVID testing room at Relay Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA on Dec. 1, 2021. The cancer treatment development company converted its coat room into a room where employees get tested once a week. All 100+employees have been back in the office as a result of regular testing. Relay is a Foresite portfolio company. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“Basically, you’re seeing people now really look at biotech in general, in the same kind of way that you would look at a tech company,” he said. “There are these tech metrics that now also apply in biotech, about adoption velocity, other other things that may not exactly equate to immediate revenue, but give you all the core material that usually works over time.”

Overall, Foresite’s investment thesis focuses on funding companies in three areas – therapeutics at the clinical stage, infrastructure focused on automation and data generation, and what Tananbaum calls “individualized care.” All three are part of a continuum in the tech-enabled healthcare end state that he envisions, ultimately resulting “a world where we’re able to, at the individual level, help someone understand what their predispositions are to disease development.” That, Tananbaum suggests, will result in a transformation of this kind of targeted care into an everyday consumer experience – in the same way tech in general has taken previously specialist functions and abilities, and made them generally available to the public at large.

#alphabet, #articles, #biotech, #biotechnology, #ceo, #corporate-finance, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #finance, #foresite-capital, #fund, #fundings-exits, #health, #innovation, #investment, #jim-tananbaum, #machine-learning, #private-equity, #startup-company, #tc, #venture-capital, #vik-bajaj

Goldman Sachs and Sesame Workshop pour money into this edtech firm’s newest fund

Shauntel Garvey and Jennifer Carolan liked edtech before the sector was cool, so the duo co-founded Reach Capital in 2015 with a $53 million debut fund. The San Francisco-based venture firm has since put checks into education startups including Newsela, Sketchy, ClassDojo and Outschool, landing six exits so far.

Now, after seeing its portfolio accelerate in the wake of the coronavirus, Reach is announcing its third fund aimed at backing edtech startups. Reach Capital III is a $165 million fund, the firm’s biggest to date. Reach’s team, which also includes Chian Gong, Wayee Chu and Esteban Sosnik, started raising the investment vehicle over the summer. New LPs in the fund include Sesame Workshop, National Geographic, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Goldman Sachs.

The Reach Capital team. Image Credits: Reach Capital

Reach plans to reserve half of its fund for follow-on investments for its startups, and the other half will go toward net-new investments. The firm intends to back 20 startups through Reach III, targeting about 15% ownership in each deal.

The edtech market raked in more than $10 billion in venture capital investment globally in 2020, but for students, parents and teachers, the past 12 months were defined more by its scramble than its surge. Reach as well as other firms have the opportunity to back startups that could change the broken bits, which is no easy feat.

Carolan, who taught in Chicago public schools for seven years before joining venture, said that the entire education system’s restructure has opened the door for more innovation and opportunities.

“What parents were experiencing with remote learning was the result of underinvestment in edtech for a long time,” she said. “The companies that were adopted to meet the ends were fragmented, many of the products were inoperable and many of them were built for the home school market and repurposed for schools.” Now, Carolan sees opportunity in the fact that more students have digital devices due to 1:1 technology infrastructure in schools.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be investing in education,” she said. Reach plans to back companies across edtech subsectors, from early childhood to K-12 to post-secondary learning. The firm is also joining a number of investors betting on lifelong learning, a term being used to describe education opportunities outside of a traditional classroom context.

Reach is one of the few venture capital firms that specifically back edtech companies. Others in the category include Owl Ventures, which closed $585 million in a pair of investment vehicles in September, and Learn Capital, which closed $132 million in December.

The pandemic has opened the software market in education and we’re just in the beginning of that opening,” Carolan said. “Education has gone from let’s hire 10 instructional coaches to let’s adopt some software to do that.”

#early-stage, #edtech, #education, #fund, #goldman-sachs, #jennifer-carolan, #new-fund, #quizlet, #reach-capital, #sesame-street, #shauntel-garvey, #tc, #venture-capital

A16z is now managing $16.5 billion, after announcing two new funds

Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) has closed a pair of funds totaling $4.5 billion, the firm confirmed in a blog post this morning. The firm has raised $1.3 billion for an early-stage fund focused on consumer, enterprise, and fintech; and closed a $3.2 billion growth-stage fund for later-stage investments. The firm did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The funds may seem somewhat typical, given the size of new funds that venture firms have been raising in recent years, Still, these are extraordinary amounts given that a16z, with offices in Menlo Park and San Francisco, was founded just 11 years ago.

As extraordinary, they bring the firm’s total assets under management to $16.5 billion.

It was just 20 months ago that a16z closed its most recent pair of funds — a $2 billion late-stage fund, and a $740 million flagship early-stage fund.

It also announced a separate, $515 million crypto-focused fund back in April of this year, its second such vehicle. And, in February, it rolled out its third biotech and healthcare investing fund, which closed with $750 million in capital commitments.

That’s a lot of capital to capture in one year. Then again, its limited partners have had reason to feel optimistic about its portfolio. In January, for example, the fintech company Plaid, whose Series C round a16z joined in late 2018, was acquired by Visa for a hefty $5.3 billion after raising roughly $310 million altogether. The Justice Department recently sued to block the deal on antitrust grounds, but even if it’s unwound, industry observers like Plaid’s prospects.

The firm is also an investor in the soon-to-be-publicly traded accommodations marketplace Airbnb, though notably, according to Airbnb’s S-1, a16z does not own enough of the company to be listed on the filing, despite that it led the company’s Series B round in 2011 and despite that general partner Jeff Jordan sits on the company’s board and would need to list any ownership position as a result.

We’ve asked if it sold part of its stake, possibly earlier this year. We’re still awaiting word back.

Another of a16z’s portfolio companies, the pay-as-you-go lending company Affirm, has also filed to go public. Andreessen Horowitz first participated in the company’s Series B round back in 2015. It is also not listed on Affirm’s S-1 filing, meaning it owns less than 5% of the company.

The firm is also an investor in the game company Roblox, whose $150 million Series G round it led earlier this year. Roblox made its S-1 public just earlier this week; a16z is not listed on it.

Its biggest win to date may well be Github, which sold to Microsoft in a $7.5 billion all-stock deal in 2018 and from which a16z reportedly pocketed more than $1 billion. When it invested in the company, it wrote the biggest check it had issued at the time: $100 million. The deal was enough for a16z to win the deal against some tough competition, including Benchmark, whose general partner, Peter Fenton, has said was also trying to woo Github at the time,

On the early-stage side, the firm is often characterized by its flashy deals, including its $100 million valuation of voice-chat app Clubhouse and $75 million valuation of Y Combinator graduate Trove.

 

A16z also recently launched a TxO accelerator, which uses a donor-advised fund to invest in underrepresented founders. Led by a16z partner Nait Jones, TxO has invested $100,000 each in an initial cohort of seven companies in exchange for 7% of ownership stake.

The donor-advised fund launched with $2.2 million in initial commitments, with Ben and Felicia Horowitz announcing that they would match up to $5 million. Any returns from companies in the fund will be repurposed into the investment vehicle. The firm has declined to share the fund’s total size to date.

Currently, a16z employs 185 people, most recently hiring Anthony Albanese, the chief regulatory officer at the New York Stock Exchange, as an operating partner for its cryptocurrency team.

 

#a16z, #affirm, #early-stage, #fund, #fundings-exits, #nyse, #tc, #venture-capital