In its bid to grow the startup ecosystem in the region, JG Summit Holdings Inc, one of the largest listed conglomerates in the Philippines, launched a US$50 million fund to invest in startups across Southeast Asia to “augment or disrupt” its own businesses. This investment arm, JG Digital Equity Ventures (JG DEV), will invest in Series A and B rounds of Southeast Asian digital and emerging tech startups, which can range from US$1 million to US$10 million.
JG DEV will invest in technologies that are aligned with the industries that its mother company is currently involved which include media, the consumer sector, retail, and financial services. It will also focus on technological platforms that will power future industries like digital health, data, and logistics.
JG DEV aims to go beyond the traditional expectations of a typical VC firm such that they would not be just investing but also to build ventures. The typical model is that you either just invest in a startup or you operate one. In their case, they would give their ventures and investments room to grow independently while also maximizing the ecosystem advantages from their existing businesses.
The company previously joined a US$550 million investing round by Singapore-based Sea Ltd., which is the company behind online gaming firm, Garena, and regional e-commerce platform, Shopee. It also has a joint venture with China-based fintech firm, Oriente, to develop digital financial solutions in the Philippines. This partnership has also brought forth Oriente Express, the founding company of mobile lending firm, Cashalo.