Philippines-based venture capital firm Kaya Founders is announcing the second close of its two latest funds dedicated to backing the next generation of technology start-ups across Southeast Asia.

In a statement on Wednesday, the firm said this brings the total committed capital of its new funds to PHP1 billion ($18 million), and the firm’s total assets under management (AUM) to PHP1.25 billion ($22.5 million).

According to the statement, investors such as Singapore-based Pavilion Capital, Gabriel and Geraldine Sunshine of Boston-based hedge fund Bracebridge Capital, and Concentric Equity Partners participated in the funding round, together with family offices, high net-worth individuals, and established entrepreneurs.

The firm is targeting PHP1.4 billion ($25 million) across two new funds to invest in early-stage start-ups in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Founded in 2021, Kaya Founders has 44 companies in its portfolio to date, spanning a wide range of sectors including eCommerce, software as a service, healthcare, financial services, agriculture, and more.

With the new funds—aptly named the “Zero to One” and “One to Ten” funds, alluding to the stage each one is focused on—the firm is looking to back another 30-40 start-ups in the Philippines and Southeast Asia over the next four years.

Noteworthy investments the venture capital has made include eCommerce enabler Etaily, which announced a $17.8 million Series A funding round last November; cloud logistics platform Locad, which raised its own $11 million Series A round in January 2023; salary on-demand provider Advance; global plastic credits marketplace Plastic Credit Exchange; and microinsurance platform RuralNet.

Behind Kaya Founders are some of the country’s technology operators and investors: Paulo Campos (Co-founder and Former Chief Executive Officer of ZALORA Philippines), Ray Alimurung (former Chief Executive Officer of Lazada Philippines) and Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng (Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Summit Media).

To further bolster the leadership team, the venture capital has also recently welcomed a couple of strategic partners to its fold, including former Potato Corner Chief Operating Officer and Union Digital Bank Director Dominic Hernandez and technology solutions provider Accent Micro Technologies Inc. (AMTI).

“We see Kaya as a vehicle to capitalize on the unique window of opportunity we are in, with the defining companies of the country and broader region to be built over the next decade,

“Above all, we see Kaya as an avenue to solve the most pressing challenges of our times, be it financial exclusion, climate change, or limited healthcare access,” Its Managing General Partner Paulo Campos said.

The announcement of its second close coincides with the appointment of Kaya Founders as an official co-investment partner (CIP) of the Start-up Venture Fund (SVF) — a PHP500 million ($8.9 million) fund focused on local start-ups managed by the National Development Company (NDC), the investment arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

With the newly raised funds, as well as the backing of the national government, Kaya Founders said the firm is leading the charge to further boost local start-up funding.

While the ecosystem has attracted an increasing amount of investment in recent years, thanks to favorable demographics and macroeconomic factors, it said many start-ups still struggle to reach the elusive Series A mark due to limited funding options.

“If you look at the amount of venture funding that has gone into the ecosystem—relative to our gross domestic product (GDP) and population—it’s clear that the Philippines has long been underinvested and under looked as a market,

“Through our funds, we hope to catalyze capital into one of the most exciting economies in the world,” added Campos.

Kaya Founders raises $12M in first close to support Philippine startup founders to scale-up