A Singapore-based fintech investment firm is close to raising US$100 million ($132.5 million) to back finance and blockchain startups in China and Southeast Asia.
BitRock Capital, backed by logistics real estate operator GLP Pte, targets a closing of the new fund by the third quarter, Alfred Shang, its chief executive officer and co-founding partner, said in an interview. It would more than double BitRock’s first fund close from late 2021, and the firm is in discussion with family offices as well as longer-term limited partners, he said, without disclosing specific names.
“We are a specialist fund, so we like to cherry-pick the best deals,” Shang said. “The economic slowdown globally, the high-interest environment, and the impact of Covid last year — all of this means that we as a sector specialist will be able to have better deals.”
The new fund will target software-as-a-service and digitalization opportunities in China, fintech companies in Southeast Asia, as well as global startups in digital asset infrastructure and Web3. The term Web3, which has lost some of its lustre since it was paraded by Silicon Valley insiders like Marc Andreessen a year ago, refers to a vision of a decentralized internet built around blockchain technology.
Founded in 2018, BitRock has invested in more than 20 companies, including the Swiss digital bank Sygnum Bank, London-based digital asset exchange Archax and Hong Kong-based virtual insurer OneDegree.
The fund announcement comes despite weak investor sentiment globally, as financial markets roil from high interest rates and the collapse of banks including Silicon Valley Bank. Despite geopolitical concern among Western investors over potential China exposure and regulatory uncertainties, BitRock said it’s focused on tapping into the potential for fintech growth in the region.
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“I wouldn’t say it’s easy in today’s world, but we are moving forward as intended,” Shang said. “It’s going to take more education and I think potential investors now are more sophisticated, but we are having interesting and informative dialogues with potential LPs and they’re raising really good questions as well.”