MDI Ventures, KB Investment launch growth-stage Centauri Fund

THE venture capital arm of Telkom Indonesia and a unit of South Korea's KB Financial Group have jointly launched Centauri Fund, a growth-stage fund with a US$150 million target. It will invest in startups in Asean, with an emphasis on Indonesia.

The fund is backed by Telkom's MDI Ventures and KB Financial Group's KB Investment. It is helmed by managing partner of MDI Singapore Kenneth Li and KB Investment CEO Kim Jong Pil, who will both act as general partners of the fund.

Centauri Fund, which has its headquarters in Jakarta and Seoul, will begin deploying capital in January 2020. It will invest between US$1 million and US$5 million per deal, with a focus on sectors including fintech, e-commerce infrastructure, software-as-a-service and big data.

Mr Li said the first close of the fund will take place in the first quarter of 2020, and the final close is planned for 2021.

"Our thesis revolves around a principal issue of solving for low success rates and the inability of many startups to transition to the next phases of maturity. We are proactively seeking to mitigate this effect by providing direct support from our corporate partners," said Mr Li.

During his stint at MDI Ventures, a more than US$140 million corporate venture initiative, Mr Li and his team saw seven successful startup exits within three years of the first investment.

Mr Kim, who also helped generate a number of exits for KB Financial Group, said: "By partnering Telkom on the Centauri Fund, KB is showing how serious it is about further expansion into Asean. We believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that by placing greater focus on Indonesia, we will be able to effectively realise this mission."