SeedPlus’ maiden $18 mn VC fund for India, Southeast Asia oversubscribed
Photo Credit: Akshansh Maan/VCCircle

Singapore-based Jungle Ventures’ seed-stage venture fund SeedPlus, which targets early-stage deals in Asia, has surpassed its target corpus of S$25 million ($18 million) with backing from Cisco Investments and Eight Roads Ventures—the investment arms of Cisco Systems Inc and Fidelity International Ltd, respectively, the firm said in a statement.

SeedPlus has already been backed by SGInnovate, Accel Partners (India) and Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata’s personal investment vehicle RNT Associates, among others. International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector lending arm of the World Bank Group, also recently invested $2 million in the fund.

The fund is run by three partners—Michael Smith Jr, who was CTO at streaming service HOOQ, former Spotify product manager Gabriel Lundberg and Tiang Lim Foo, who led Evernote’s market development in Asia Pacific.

The firm also roped in Chirayu Wadke as partner to lead investments in Internet of Things ventures. Prior to this, Wadke led strategic business development for a number of product areas at technology giant Google.

Supported by Google and PwC, SeedPlus is focused on investing in startups across software-as-a-service (SaaS), financial technology, artificial intelligence and cyber security, among other emerging technology areas. It invests up to S$1 million in each startup in Asia.

In June last year, venture capital firm Jungle Ventures joined hands with RNT Associates, Accel Partners and Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) to float SeedPlus.

“The SeedPlus investment aligns with IFC’s venture capital group’s strategy to invest in funds that support innovative technology companies across emerging markets. There are several transformative technologies disrupting key industry sectors, enabling entrepreneurship to flourish in emerging markets, particularly in Southeast Asia, which we see as a growing market for us,” said Pravan Malhotra, IFC’s venture capital lead for Southeast Asia and Asia internet investments.

“The goals of SeedPlus align with Cisco Investments’ mission of supporting startups with unique business models. Asia has tremendous potential, and our investment in SeedPlus will give us additional access to the vibrant growth of the region,” said Rajiv Menon, managing director of corporate development at Cisco and head of Cisco Investments, Asia Pacific & Japan.

SeedPlus is focused on investing in companies that target large addressable markets in Asia or globally. Its investments include Moglix, an Indian B2B e-commerce platform specialising in the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) industry; Mimetic.ai, a Singapore-based technology startup responsible for creating Evie, an artificial intelligence (AI) scheduling assistant; and Homage, a Singapore-based startup that connects in-home caregivers with elderly people seeking assistance.

Jungle Ventures invests across early stages of startups and has made investments in India, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

In July 2015, Ratan Tata joined Jungle Ventures as special adviser.

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