TNB Aura closes $22.7M fund to bring PE-style investing to Southeast Asias startups

TNB Aura, a recent arrival to Southeast Asias VC scene, announced today that it has closed a maiden fund atSG$31.1million, or around US$22.65 million, to bring a more private equity-like approach to investing in startups in the region.
The fund was launched in 2016 and it is a joint effort between Australia-based venture fund Aura and SingaporesTNB Ventures, which has a history of corporate innovation work. It reached a final close today, having hit an early close in January. It is a part of the Enterprise Singapore AdvancedManufacturing and Engineeringscheme which, as youd expect, means there is a focus on hardware, IO, AI and other future-looking tech like industry 4.0.
The fund is targeting Series A and B deals and it has the firepower to do 15-20 deals over likely the next two to three years, co-founder and managing partnerVicknesh R Pillay told TechCrunch in an interview. Theres around $500,000-$4 million per company, with the ideal scenario being an initial $1 million check with more saved for follow-on rounds. Already it has backed four companies including TradeGecko, which raised $10 million in around that sawTNB Aura invest alongside Aura, and AI marketing platform Ematic.
The fund has a team of 10, including six partners and an operating staff of four. It pitches itselfa little differently to most other VCs in the region given that manufacturing and engineering bent. That, Pillay said, means it is focused on hardware plus software startups.
We arevery strong fundamentals guys, Pillay added. We ask what is the valuation and decide what we can get from a deal. Its almost like PE-style investing in the VC world.
TNB Aura closes $22.7M fund to bring PE-style investing to Southeast Asias startups
A selection of the TNB Aura team [left to right]: Samuel Chong (investment manager), Calvin Ng, Vicknesh R Pillay, Charles Wong (partners), Liu Zhihao (investment manager)
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