Square Peg has just announced the close of its fourth pool of venture capital with an impressive US$450 million (A$594 million). This brings its total venture capital chest to over $1 billion. The bulk of their fourth pool was led by local Australian institutions AustralianSuper and HostPlus. Other notable companies that supported this round were the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Roc Partners.

Paul Bassat, Barry Brott, Tony Holt, and Justin Liberman started Square Peg back in 2012 to help technology startups get their much-needed boost. Square Peg invests in startups from Australia, Israel, and Southeast Asia on their Series A or B rounds.

Since then, the firm has already invested in several diverse unicorns in fintech, design software, and e-commerce platforms. Canva, Fiverr, and Airwallex are now continuously growing and are valued at US$7 billion. With more than US$1 billion in its war chest, this company is more than ready to move forward and expand its portfolio of investments.

Opportunity In Southeast Asia

Square Peg has set its eyes on Southeast Asia and is looking to double down its activity within the region. The firm has been very much involved with different startups in the region, but it established some roots after opening an office in Singapore in August this year. The firm has Tushar Roy and Piruze Sabuncu, Stripe’s SEA & Hong Kong head, to lead the Singapore team.

Though having only set up office a couple of months ago, Square Peg is no stranger to the Southeast Asian market. It has already made numerous successful investments and now have tech startups such as Neuron Mobility, Doctor Anywhere, StashAway, and FinAccel in their portfolio.

Sabuncu has expressed her enthusiasm for investing in Southeast Asia and sees the entire region as having a lot of value and potential for the next generation of tech startups.

“We have reached a tipping point where Southeast Asian founders are no longer content to build copy-cat companies from overseas for a local market and are instead building globally defining businesses founded right here,” she says.

2020 tech acceleration

Earlier in 2020, Roy stated that it was a little more difficult to raise funds in the first nine months due to COVID. Businesses were all troubled by the pandemic, and this VC firm was no exception. “Our investors take a long term and committed approach to investing, and understand that venture capital is often uncorrelated to the markets while offering the potential for significant returns,” he says. Things have turned around since then, though.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Bassat quickly went over how COVID has accelerated different tech trends. Daily essentials such as healthcare, education, and retail have been greatly affected by lockdowns and quarantines. Due to all of this, the world was forced to adjust and think of new and innovative ways to create a solution. People are now migrating to all these new platforms that solve problems for distance learning and health care delivery. The opportunity for startups will be even better for years to come now that user resistance is now a little less difficult.

Bassat was also very happy to announce that Square Peg Capital could return over $400 million to initial investors who were part of their first fund, which amounted to roughly $100 million.