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Aozora Bank invests in Genesis Alternative Ventures fund, signs MOU to
support Japanese start-ups’ expansion into Southeast Asia

Singapore, 4 June 2021 – Genesis Alternative Ventures said today that Aozora Bank has invested in its US$80 million venture debt fund and the two parties have also agreed to support the expansion of Japanese start-ups into Southeast Asia. Genesis and Aozora’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Aozora Corporate Investment, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today for a business partnership that will, among others, provide “a more comprehensive support framework to Japanese venture-backed companies looking to expand into Southeast Asia.” The MOU will also see the two parties share information and expertise on venture debt and venture capital in Asia, execute joint marketing strategies targeting customers, introduce investment and financing opportunities for venture capital-backed companies in the region, and co-host events related to the venture capital
industry.

For Aozora, the partnership with Genesis follows a recent arrangement with SVB Capital, the investment arm of the US high-tech commercial bank Silicon Valley Bank. Dr Jeremy Loh, Co-Founder and Partner of Genesis Alternative Ventures, said: “We look forward to partnering Aozora to introduce venture debt to start-ups in Southeast Asia and Japan. “We believe that venture debt is ideal for young companies with strong growth trajectory as it will allow them to expand without diluting founders’ equity.” Aozora Bank is a full-service Tokyo-based bank with assets of more than ¥5 trillion and backed by some of the largest investment firms in the world. It launched a Japan venture debt fund in November 2020 for Japanese technology companies

Venture debt, generally deployed by way of senior, secured non-convertible debenture accompanied by equity options, is appropriate for emerging, high-growth businesses that need to extend their cash runway to get to the next stage of growth. These companies may lack the track record to meet traditional criteria for bank loans or their founders may wish to minimize equity dilution

Genesis was founded by Ben J Benjamin, Dr Jeremy Loh and Mr Martin Tang in 2019

About Genesis Alternative Ventures Genesis Alternative Ventures is Southeast Asia’s leading private lender to venture and growth-stage companies funded by tier-one VCs. Genesis is founded by a team of venture lending pioneers who have backed some of Southeast Asia’s best-loved companies. Armed with a strong reputation among entrepreneurs and investors, Genesis is a trusted partner in empowering corporate growth while minimizing shareholders’ equity dilution. Genesis was founded by Ben J Benjamin, Dr Jeremy Loh and Martin Tang in 2019.

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A great insightful discussion with Ben J Benjamin from Genesis Alternative Ventures on the state of the funding climate in SEA and the role of Venture Debt!

When talking about fundraising the first type of funds entrepreneurs usually talk about is equity financing, let’s call it the typical VC fundraising route. But depending on the stage your startup is in, debt financing might be a good fit.

With a maturing tech-ecosystem, growing companies, bigger needs for working capital, and more profitability (or at least road to profitability) the need for alternatives to equity financing grows as well. Debt financing is a great option to explore.

Listen to the full episode here.


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The PDF version of this media release can be downloaded here

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AI Fintech Trusting Social raises venture debt from Genesis Alternative Ventures

SINGAPORE, 29 April 2021 – Headquartered in Singapore and operating across Vietnam, Indonesia, India and the Philippines, AI Fintech Trusting Social announced an undisclosed venture debt financing with debt investor, Genesis Alternative Ventures. Trusting Social is backed by Sequoia Capital, Beenext, Tanglin Ventures and 500 Startups.

Trusting Social delivers AI-led products to leading banks and finance companies, enabling them to provide credit to under-served consumers at scale.

Today, Trusting Social’s credit insights cover more than a billion consumers and are used by more than 130 financial institutions across Vietnam, Indonesia, India and the Philippines. Trusting Social is now focused on bringing its broader suite of AI-driven products and services (a full stack of lead generation, credit insights, eKYC, digital onboarding and portfolio management) to market, and to enable 100 million credit lines.

The company has two business models – an Enterprise business that allows financial institutions to access its capabilities on a pay-per-use basis, and a Partnerships business, where it jointly creates and manages consumer credit portfolios with an FI partner, and shares in the net profits.

“We are tapping on venture debt to strengthen our balance sheet, diversify funding sources, and accelerate the company’s growth, especially in our Partnerships business,” said Founder and CEO Nguyen Nguyen, PhD. “Our ambition is to enable financial inclusion on an unprecedented scale, and Genesis will be helping us frame our reporting for this purpose.”

Singapore based Genesis Alternative Ventures recently announced the final close of its US$80 million fund. “The flow of credit is a key driver of economic growth,” said Eddy Ng, Head of Investments and Portfolio at Genesis. “We are excited to be supporting Trusting Social’s growth as they increase their breadth of product offering, helping banks and financial institutions to increase their reach to the under-served consumers.”


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An article written by Tech In Asia. Read the full article here

Singapore-based private lender Genesis Alternative Ventures said it has closed its US$80 million debt fund for Southeast Asia, which it claims is the first venture debt fund in the region.

The company didn’t specify, however, if this was the first or final close of the fund.

Anchored by Singapore’s Sassoon family – a clan known for its retail dealings – other investors in Genesis Alternative Ventures Fund I include Japan’s Aozora Bank, Korea Development Bank, and Hong Kong multiasset investment firm Silverhorn Group. Earlier backers include Indonesia’s CIMB Niaga and Seattle-based global investment impact fund Capria Fund.

“Venture debt in Southeast Asia has been thrust into the limelight during the Covid-19 period with entrepreneurs seeking more efficient capital and putting in place additional capital buffers,” said Genesis Alternative Ventures’ co-founder and managing partner, Jeremy Loh.

Read the full article here


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The PDF version of this media release can be downloaded here

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Genesis Alternative Ventures closes Southeast Asia’s first venture debt fund at US$80 million

  • Total commitments from investors exceed target range
  • Institutional commitments include Aozora Bank, Korea Development Bank, PT Bank CIMB Niaga
  • Genesis deploys US$30 million to tech companies, seeks those with profit-for-purpose mission

Singapore, 15 April 2021 – Singapore-based Genesis Alternative Ventures has closed Southeast Asia’s first venture debt fund at US $80million, exceeding the top end of its target range.

Investors in Genesis Alternative Ventures Fund I, anchored by Singapore’s Sassoon family, include Japan’s Aozora Bank, Korea Development Bank (KDB) and Hong Kong multi-asset investment firm Silverhorn Group. Earlier commitments include Indonesia’s PT Bank CIMB Niaga and Seattle-based global investment impact fund Capria Fund.

Tokyo-based Aozora Bank is a publicly-listed financial institution that operates through 21 domestic and five overseas offices. As at 31 December 2020, it has total assets of about 5.6 trillion yen (US$51 billion). In November 2019, Aozora Bank established a two billion yen (US$18 million) fund to provide venture financing to domestic venture firms.

State-owned KDB is a policy development bank in South Korea with total assets exceeding US$230 billion. By collaborating with Genesis, KDB hopes to facilitate the expansion of Korean technology firms into Southeast Asia.

Overall, financial institutions, fund-of-funds and family offices accounted for about 75% of total commitments from investors across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. 

Dr Jeremy Loh, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Genesis Alternative Ventures, said: “Venture debt in Southeast Asia has been thrust into the limelight during the Covid period with entrepreneurs seeking more efficient capital and putting in place additional capital buffers. 

“We are thankful for the strong support of our investors who have embraced the venture debt model in Southeast Asia. We are equally delighted with the robust quality of our portfolio companies. A growing number of them are making a positive impact to society and the environment, underscoring Genesis’ profit-for-purpose commitment.”

More than US$30 million of venture debt deployed to SE Asia tech companies

To date, Genesis has deployed over US$30 million to a growing portfolio of 12 venture-backed companies across Southeast Asia. They include Horangi Cyber Security, Indonesia’s flexible space provider GoWork, Lynk Global – an on-demand expert network platform as well as Believe, a B2B FMCG startup.

Another portfolio company, Matterport Inc, an expert in transforming buildings into digital spatial data, has announced in February 2021 that it has entered into a definitive agreement that will result in Matterport becoming a Nasdaq listed company via a SPAC.

Investing in for-profit companies that deliver impact at scale

Genesis is committed to investing in companies with the potential to generate sizeable financial returns while delivering sustainable positive impact.

Genesis counts Flow, Deliveree, Tanihub and Trusting Social among its impactful portfolio investments. The latter leverages AI and big data to enable financial inclusion for the underbanked, while Flow focuses on ethical, digital consumer debt collection in various Southeast Asian countries. Indonesia’s Tanihub gives fairer rates to Indonesian farmers, provides microloans for their crop and grows their businesses. Through its Driver Partner Benefits Program, Deliveree aims to generate better income through lowering the costs of maintaining their vehicles.

Growing importance of venture debt in Southeast Asia

Venture debt, generally deployed by way of senior, secured non-convertible debenture accompanied by equity options, is appropriate for emerging, high growth businesses that need to extend their cash runway to get to the next stage of growth. These companies may lack the track record to meet traditional criteria for bank loans or their founders may wish to minimise equity dilution.

Global data suggests there is significant headroom for venture debt to grow in the region. A recent study by Pitchbook notes that in the US, venture debt has grown at a faster pace than the broader venture capital market and that 2019 and 2020 were record years for tech companies raising debt. By comparison, venture debt makes up an estimated 2% to 4% of overall venture funding in Southeast Asia last year. While trailing US venture debt deployment, venture debt in Southeast Asia continues to gain traction as qualified deal flow continues to grow 31% quarter on quarter on an annualised basis since January 2020.*

*Internal Genesis statistics (2020 – 2021)

Genesis to host forum on venture debt and impact investing in May 2021

Genesis will host an online forum for industry leaders and thought leaders to share their experiences and exchange ideas on the venture ecosystem, specifically as it relates to capital raising, venture debt and impact investing.

The Genesis Forum, (http://www.genesisventures.co/forum2021), organised in collaboration with Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singapore Management University (SMU) and PricewaterhouseCoopers Singapore (PwC Singapore), will take place on 6 May 2021. Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, who is the Founding Partner and Chairman of Ikhlas Capital and former Chairman of CIMB Group, will deliver the keynote address. Genesis and PwC Singapore are also expected to release a first-ever industry-wide paper on venture debt in Southeast Asia at the forum.

Genesis was founded by Ben J Benjamin, Dr Jeremy Loh and Martin Tang in 2019.

– The End –


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In a tech ecosystem affected by an uncertain environment, could venture debt be a white knight to save startups in Southeast Asia?

Venture debt, a type of financing typically used by early-stage companies and startups, first gained prominence in Southeast Asia around 2015. In the US, however, it has long been a fixture on the market, with 35-year old industry pioneer Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) backing around 50% of venture-capital-backed companies with IPOs in 2017.

Venture debt brings significant benefit as a complementary form of financing as capital that is almost equivalent to equity without dilution. For small and medium enterprises (SMEs), debt capital can also bring an optimum cost of capital.

– Jeremy Loh, Co-founder and managing partner at Genesis Alternative Ventures

General financing parameters in venture debt have not changed much, despite recent variability in demand and market conditions in wake of COVID-19, according to Loh. Genesis Alternative Ventures typically funds between USD 1 to USD 5 million dollars, while Innoven Capital typically carries out a 20% funding round with loan durations typically among two to three years long, similar to pre-COVID financing structures.

Both venture debt providers emphasized that their general funding structure and terms remain sensitive to the company’s purpose. In addition, bespoke conditions may be offered to tailor to each company’s circumstances.

Yet, despite the arguably increasing popularity of venture debt in Southeast Asia, it is yet too early to conclude that this will become a mainstream form of financing for startups, even with COVID-19 as an accelerator of change, and promising venture debt providers like Innoven Capital and Genesis Alternative Ventures in play

Read the full article here:

https://kr-asia.com/will-venture-debt-be-a-white-knight-for-startups-in-southeast-asia


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When start-ups accept money from venture capitalists, the founders are often asked to give up a significant portion of their ownership in return for additional equity financing. Venture debt funding is an alternative way for start-ups to raise funds, minus the equity dilution.

When you have to sell equity in your company to raise money to buy, for example, depreciating assets, it is an expensive exercise.

-Ben Benjamin, Co-founder and partner of Genesis Alternative Ventures

The venture debt business model also benefits the venture fund as it brings about at least two streams of income. The first is the interest payable on the loan from the borrower, and the other is warrants. But why would a start-up turn to a venture-debt fund instead of a bank for a loan?

Banks have more stringent requirements and criteria when approving loans to companies. The banks typically want some semblance of earnings before they are willing to lend. The very nature of start-ups is often prioritising growth over profitability, which unchecks this box right away. This is where Genesis comes in.

Read the full article from The Edge Singapore here.


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LYNK

Entrepreneur Peggy Choi On The Struggles She Faced Building Knowledge Sharing Platform, Lynk Global

Peggy Choi learnt what resilience was at 14, when she had major spinal surgery and was hospitalised for two months. Fast-forward, now she’s jumped into the world of entrepreneurship, faced-off gender stereotypes and proved countless investors wrong with the creation of her startup, Lynk Global—a knowledge sharing platform used across the globe.

Full Generationt Asia article (3 March 2021)



Matterport

Matterport to Go Public Via Alec Gores SPAC in $2.9 Billion Deal

Matterport Inc., a maker of software for virtual walk-throughs of properties, agreed to go public through a merger with a blank-check company backed by billionaire Alec Gores.

Full Bloomberg article (8 February 2021)



Lynk

Lynk, a “knowledge-as-a-service” platform with more than 840,000 experts, raises $24 million

Lynk, a “knowledge-as-a-service” platform that connects clients with over 840,000 experts in a wide range of fields, announced today it has raised $24 million led by Brewer Lane Ventures and MassMutual Ventures, with participation from Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund.

Full Tech Crunch article (27 January 2020)



Matterport

Global Real Estate Brands Adopt Matterport Capture Services to Accelerate Property Sales and Tenancy

Matterport today announced Matterport Capture Services™, a fully managed solution for enterprise customers to book 3D virtual tours with Matterport Capture Technicians™ skilled in using the Matterport Pro 2 camera. 

Full Matterport article (1 July 2020)



Horangi

Horangi Cyber Security Named In Gartner 2020 Market Guide for Compliance Automation Tools in DevOps

Horangi Cyber Security is a CREST-accredited SaaS company based in Singapore. Horangi Cyber Security, its product Warden, has been listed as a Representative Vendor in the Compliance Automation Tools in DevOps Vendors in Market Guide for Compliance Automation Tools in DevOps.

Full Horangi Cyber Security article (1 July 2020)



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Welcome back to our webinar series, #GENZOOMS. In this episode, we will share stories about how our behaviours have changed from ‘Life after COVID’ to ‘Life with COVID’. So how does that change how we live, work, and shop, especially with the gradual re-opening of economies? Will e-Commerce spell the demise of retail? Will WFH mean that CoWorking spaces are irrelevant? What will CoLiving mean when there is social distancing?

Our host Martin Tang invited three panellists to dig more insights and stories about the situation.

  • Irwan Mussry, President and CEO of Time International
  • Vanessa Hendriadi, CEO and Co-Founder of GoWork
  • Sagar Khatri, VP and Corporate Development of Hmlet

There’s a good insight from Irwan Mussry where he stated that the e-Commerce and the brick and mortar should go hand in hand. And at the same time, Vanessa said that the flexible work arrangement is definitely here to stay.

Watch the full stories in the video below.

Watch the first episode of #GENZOOMS here: link