The Kuala Lumpur-headquartered venture is founded by Chua and Singaporean Darren Chau, previously with IE Singapore, and it is targeting a $40 million total close. Chua declined to say how far advanced the project is, but we did a little digging and industry sources suggest it has closed around $10 million thus far.
The fund is focused on startups in a range of industry verticals including travel, property, FMCG, logistics, property and “female-focused economics,” Chua told TechCrunch in an interview. On that last vertical, Chua cites Gobi’s successful exit from Malaysia-based skincare and cosmetics startup Hermo — the firm received $13 million for its 60 percent stake courtesy of a deal with public Japanese firm Istyle.
Chua said the deal represented a massive return on investment despite the fact that Hermo had never expanded beyond Malaysia. He believes that the opportunity for female-focused business will only increase in the region.
Geographically, the fund’s focus is on Southeast Asia, and in particular Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar. It will also seek deals in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
In particular, Chua said he will tap his network in Thailand and Vietnam — developed from his time at Gobi — while Chau has extensive experience working in Myanmar among other markets. Two other partners are in the process of joining the firm but cannot be named at this point, he added.
Vynn Capital plans to begin investments by the end of February with a primary target of seed and pre-Series A deals. Chua said it would reserve significant funds for follow-on deals that would take it into Series A investments and potentially belong. All told, the firm is looking at making around 15-20 deals with its inaugural fund.
Chua declined to give specific LP information, but he said the firm is backed by “traditional families keen get into the new era of business where technology plays a huge role.”
Three publicly-announced advisors to the fund include Malaysia-based advertising industry pioneer Tan Sri Vincent Lee, Indonesian business leader SD Darmono, Dr Mario Hardy, the Thailand-based CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
Chua, who spent three years with Gobi, is not the only Southeast Asia-based VC to switch out of a larger fund to establish his own.
Yinglan Tan, formerly with Sequoia, launched his $20 million Insignia Venture Partners firm last year. Other prominent firms covering the seed to Series A and beyond include Golden Gate Ventures, Monks Hill Ventures, Venturra Capital, NSI Ventures, and Jungle Ventures’ SeedPlus unit. Of course, there is also Gobi itself, which is heavily anchored in China but has a local presence in Southeast Asia.