Japan’s largest FinTech conglomerate SBI Holdings announced on Thursday that it has launched a digital innovation fund with a target fund size of $75 million.

General Partners of the fund include Kyobo Securities, the securities brokerage arm of South Korea’s Kyobo Life Insurance Group and NTUitive, the innovation and enterprise company of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), the companies said in a joint statement.

The fund will be managed by the venture capital arm of SBI Holdings, SBI Ven Capital (SBIVC), with an expected final close in the third quarter of 2023.

SBIVC will use the capital raised to invest in early-stage (generally pre-series A and Series A) digital technology and digital platform companies.

The fund aims to accelerate digital transformation in Southeast Asia and South Asia through the combined operational expertise, regional go-to-market connections and extensive industry network across the three general partners.

On top of spearheading the acceleration of digital transformation, the fund will assist its portfolios with monetizing their digitalized transaction data through the general partners’ vast financial service and fintech eco-system.

“We aim to address gaps such as lack of access to digital services and market inefficiencies, to ensure the growth and prosperity of the digital economy in Southeast Asia and South Asia,” said Ryosuke Hayashi, Managing Director and CEO at SBI Ven Capital Pte Ltd.

Capitalizing on the growth of Southeast Asia’s digital economy

Southeast Asia is characterized by the rapid adoption of technology-driven by the pandemic resultant shift from offline to online, a rising middle class and growing internet economy. This presents a large opportunity for digital technologies and platforms to unlock $220 to $625 billion of economic potential by 2030 in the region. As a result, the digital transformation market in Southeast Asia is expected to face 22.7 percent year-on-year growth until 2025.

“Kyobo Securities, along with Kyobo Life Insurance Co Ltd and other affiliates, has a strong commitment towards expanding its footprint in Southeast Asia and South Asia markets,”said Hee Jin Shin, Director and Head of Venture Capital at Kyobo Securities Co Ltd. “We aim to leverage the strong growth potential and constantly invest on behalf of Kyobo Life Insurance Group to benefit the digital economy in the region.”

“Our partnership with Kyobo Securities and SBIVC opens up new frontiers and opportunities for promising tech start-ups in Singapore as well as for NTU. With the University poised to commercialize more technologies through spin-offs and licensing, the partnership will empower and accelerate translation efforts to bring impactful innovations to the market for the benefit of society,” said David Toh, CEO of NTUitive Pte Ltd.

SBI Holdings is one of the most active venture capital firms in Asia’s FinTech space, currently managing an asset under management (AUM) of over $5.69 billion. SBI Holdings has seen a stellar track record of over 270 cumulative exits, and its portfolio includes Asia’s largest successful startups such as Tokopedia, NIUM, Sendo, Investree and Mfine.

SBI Holdings group has over 20 years of experience in venture capital investments and has invested in more than 1,700 companies globally, leveraging its extensive ecosystem to further drive the value of its portfolio companies. The group has been operating in Southeast Asia for over 15 years and has built a vast network of local teams on the ground in over 10 countries in South and Southeast Asia.

Since its establishment as the first securities company in Korea, Kyobo Securities Co., Ltd., has contributed to the development of the securities industry for over 60 years.

SMU and Synagie partner to upskill and plug skill gaps in Southeast Asia’s ecommerce and tech workforce