This VC Firm has Set its Eyes on Building Startups in Southeast Asia. What Makes SEA the Hotbed for Investors?
Will Klippgen is an avid believer in the Southeast Asia story, one that top VCs in the area are tapping to scale up start-ups specifically in deep tech.
In a conversation, the Singapore-based Norwegian investor spoke about what interests him the most about Southeast Asia and the massive potential that exists in the region.
“Businesses have a big opportunity to increase their productivity by adopting SaaS products. We also believe more goods and services will be delivered online and drive an ecommerce boom similar to the one in China and to a certain extent, India. Globally, we believe medtech will boom in the coming 24 months, which will mainly impact the scene in Singapore given its supply of deep tech talent,” Klippgen said.
His company Cocoon Capital has decided to focus exclusively on the massive opportunity in the fast-growing markets of Southeast Asia. “We believe China and India investments require dedicated on-the-ground teams, and we are not ready to do this now,” Klippgen said.
Cocoon Capital was launched in 2016 by Klippgen along with Michael Blakey, one of UK’s most recognised angel investors.
The fund focuses on enterprise tech in Southeast Asia and is behind companies like ticketing company Hapz.com, energy saving technology company SensorFlow and Dexecure, a SaaS-based company increasing ecommerce conversion and page views across desktop and mobile.
The VC firm is currently raising its second S$25m fund.
Why Southeast Asia?
An investor and the co-founder of price comparison site Zoomit.com which merged with Kelkoo.com and sold to Yahoo in 2004 in one of Europe’s largest internet transactions counts Singapore and Indonesia hotbeds for the startup ecosystem to develop.
In Singapore, we see an increasing number of deep tech companies across many areas, which reflect the efforts of the government to attract top international talent through various initiatives including world-class accelerators and incubators as well as the country's world-leading universities and research institutions says Klippgen.
He thinks Indonesia is developing a separate ecosystem given its massive population size and is seeing companies focusing exclusively on the national opportunity and with a major focus on consumer services. The rest of Southeast Asia is starting to wake up, and we see more companies started locally which are now launching regional expansion efforts.
In 2010, he was awarded “Best Performing VC / PE backed company” by the Singapore Venture Capital Association for his successful investment in PropertyGuru.com, Southeast Asia’s leading property listing site.
Tips for Startups
His first tip is to create a stellar 2 or 3 person founding team. Team remains the most important factor for us to invest.
“We invest from the idea stage to the seed stage, so make sure that you approach a VC that matches your own stage,” thinks Klippgen.
He explained why Cocoon Capital likes scalable businesses – so you have to be prepared to demonstrate how you can scale your business and how you will use our funding efficiently to move to the next stage.
Klippgen says the most exciting part is that no day is the same and that he meets amazingly smart and inspiring people. It is also very satisfying to be able to be part of a multitude of small revolutions.
He recounts his most memorable journeys to be the first investor in iXiGO.com and see how the team started out with a clear focus to help every Indian traveller in a meaningful way to save both time and money. It is a great privilege to be able to have such a fun job, and I would recommend anyone interested to join us to get in touch.
As a full-time business angel, Klippgen has helped finance Singapore and regional success stories including iXiGO.com, Anacle Systems, Tickled Media, ReferralCandy and Nugit.