Crown Capital

SG’s Vulpes launches COVID-19 fund, ropes in PropertyGuru co-founder as venture partner

(Deal Street Asia)

Singapore-based fund manager Vulpes Investment Management is launching a special opportunities venture fund aimed at investing in companies affected by the COVID-19 crisis. It did not disclose the size of the fund.

The firm has roped in two senior executives to join its investment team: Jani Rautiainen, co-founder of PropertyGuru, and Hugh Bickerstaff, former chief investment officer at Australian early-stage VC firm Investible.

Rautiainen will join Vulpes as a venture partner, much like his PropertyGuru co-founder Steve Melhuish, who joined venture capital firm Wavemaker Partners in a similar role in 2018. A venture partner is typically not a full-time, permanent member of the firm but is brought onboard to source and manage investments.

Bickerstaff, meanwhile, will join Vulpes as an investment committee member and advisor.

The special opportunities fund will seek to make at least 10 investments in the next 12 months and has begun meeting founders in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vulpes added that it intends to co-invest with other venture investors looking for additional funding to support existing portfolio companies.

“We think we can quickly build an attractive portfolio…at attractive valuations if we are prepared to invest now, and prepared to invest in founders we have not met face to face, while other investors in traditional venture funds try and wait for the storm to pass,” said Field Pickering, Head of Venture Investing at Vulpes.

Founded in 2011, Vulpes was started by Stephen Diggle, co-founder of Artradis Fund Management, an Asia-based hedge fund. The firm has been managing third party funds since 2001 and actively managing venture capital in Southeast Asia since 2008.

In 2017, Vulpes launched a venture fund for Myanmar. In 2019, it formed a fund management partnership with Patamar Capital, a US-based venture firm focused on South and Southeast Asia. Some of Vulpes’s past investments include Southeast Asia’s property listing platform PropertyGuru, and Thai influencer marketing platform Hiip.

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