Home » Korea Investment Partners Launches Southeast Asia Fund: A New Era for Korean-Southeast Asian Startups

Korea Investment Partners Launches Southeast Asia Fund: A New Era for Korean-Southeast Asian Startups

by Lucas Finis
Korea Investment Partners

Korea Investment Partners (KIP) recently launched a dedicated $60 million venture capital fund focused on backing early-stage startups in Southeast Asia. The move spotlights the growing appetite amongst Korean investors to tap into the region’s burgeoning tech ecosystem.

KIP has invested actively in Southeast Asia since establishing its Singapore-based GEC-KIP fund with Golden Equator in 2018. However, its latest vehicle represents a bigger bet on the market’s immense potential as both an investment destination and a launching pad for global expansion.

The fund will target seed to Series B stage companies across sectors, with a preference for startups aiming to extend into South Korea. KIP intends to invest between $2-3 million per startup, allocating 60% for initial deals and 40% for follow-on funding as portfolio companies scale up.

This long-term approach allows KIP to nurture its investments with value-added guidance and ongoing capital support. The firm also plans to leverage its extensive network in Korea and the broader Asia Pacific region to help portfolio companies grow.


KIP’s Managing Partner John Kim cites Southeast Asia’s large and youthful population, rapidly growing middle class, and dynamic startup ecosystem as key motivators for investing deeper in the region.

Southeast Asia’s digital economy is projected to triple in size to $309 billion by 2025, presenting massive opportunities in areas like e-commerce, fintech, and online media. KIP aims to capture this growth by backing the next wave of regional innovators early in their journeys.

Korean conglomerates are also turning to Southeast Asia for expansion, further illustrating the region’s mounting economic influence. KIP can serve as an invaluable bridge between Korean strategic players and emerging startups in Southeast Asia.

Moreover, Southeast Asian startups expanding into Korea can benefit from KIP’s local expertise and guidance in navigating the country’s business landscape. KIP notes the markets have greater cultural synergies than Western counterparts, easing market entry.

KIP’s fund comes alongside other recent signals of intensifying Korean venture investment into Southeast Asia. Venture capital firm East Ventures and Seoul-based SV Investment both unveiled $100 million in funds dedicated to the region earlier this year.

Other Korean investors like Woori Venture Partners and Shinhan Venture Investment have stepped up dealmaking activity and opened local offices in Singapore. Collaborations between South Korean and Southeast Asian accelerator programs have also surged.

This momentum tracks heightening competition amongst global venture capitalists vying to access Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem and growth potential. US and Chinese firms have historically led investment, but Korean capital adds valuable diversity.

Moving forward, deepening linkages between the Korean and Southeast Asian VC communities could ignite a virtuous circle. As Korean funds directly support regional startups, they can foster reciprocal interest and capital flows back into Korea’s tech sector.

With its latest targeted fund, KIP seeks to accelerate this intertwined prosperity by facilitating knowledge exchange and business synergies. The firm’s extensive operating history in both markets provides a solid foundation to bridge the regions.

Overall, dedicated investment vehicles like KIP’s new Southeast Asia fund could catalyze the emergence of an integrated regional startup ecosystem. By strategically harnessing complementary advantages, Southeast Asian founders and Korean investors are poised to elevate innovation, scale, and value creation across borders.

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