New venture firm The-Wolfpack on the hunt for Asia-Pacific consumer startups

FORMER top executives at GroupM and IMG on Wednesday launched a venture firm targeting early-stage consumer startups in the Asia-Pacific.

Its debut fund, called The Wolfpack Pioneer VCC, was fully subscribed at around US$5 million and will focus on investments in the region's direct-to-consumer sector, it said. The team, known as The-Wolfpack, is now in a stage of deployment with an eye on eight to 10 companies.

A second fund, targeted at over S$20 million, is in the pipeline, it said. The team is also considering expanding into Thailand, in hopes of bringing portfolio companies and investing in the early-stage startups there.

It aims to be the venture partner of choice for startups in the consumer goods, leisure and media sectors. The firm is led by Toh Jin Wei, Simon Nichols and Tan Kok Chin.

"Most venture capital firms will tell (startups) to focus on one thing and do that really well, but we have built enough major consumer brands to know that's not enough to succeed in complex markets across Asia-Pacific," said Mr Toh, the co-founder and managing partner of The-Wolfpack.

"Products and services need to deliver experiences, inspire community advocates and create media ecosystems."

Mr Toh and Mr Nichols have both held senior appointments at companies like WPP's GroupM and IMG, building consumer and media brands. Meanwhile, Mr Tan has worked on major projects, including CapitaLand, Raffles Hotel, Marina Bay Sands and Jewel, and brings almost 20 years of placemaking and experiential design expertise to the team.

Glenn Sugita, co-founder and managing partner of Northstar Advisors and mentor to The-Wolfpack, said: "The-Wolfpack is the missing piece direct-to-consumer startups need. Having worked closely with Jin Wei and Simon over the years, I have seen firsthand how their sharp on-the-ground insights and local connections with decision makers can pivot companies to new heights."

The team will work closely with founders to scale strategically with impact by leveraging on industry networks with key C-suite decision makers in the region, it said.