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Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper — perhaps best known for his investments in Hotmail, Skype, China’s Internet giant Baidu, and now his Startup U TV show — has told VentureBeat that he’s invested “a few million dollars” into U.S.- and Singapore-based VC firm Wavemaker Partners.
The investment is understood to have been made in his personal capacity, and will be split across two of the firm’s funds: Wavemaker Partners 3 and Wavemaker Labs.
In July 2014, Tim Draper and the Draper Venture Network welcomed Wavemaker as its fifteenth member. That move was already seen as a sign of the network’s intentions to double-down on its push into Asia.
“Some of my best investments have come from outside the U.S.,” Draper said, “like Baidu (China) and Skype (Estonia). I want to find another one in Southeast Asia, together with Wavemaker.”
Wavemaker’s Singapore-based arm, Wavemaker Pacific, is headed up by former serial entrepreneur Paul Santos, and focuses on deals in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The firm is currently in the midst of raising its third fund, expected to come in at nearly $50 million.
Funds one (2003) and two (2011) stood at $8 million and $20 million respectively, though the focus on Asia was traditionally very small — about 5 percent of the money from the first fund went to deals in the region, and about 15 percent of the second fund.
Fund three, however, is expected to apportion as much as 30 percent of the money to investments in Asia, with the bulk still remaining for deals back in the U.S. A full portfolio of the firm’s investments to date can be found on its website.
Santos also said that Wavemaker is welcoming two other members onto its board in its attempt to be “one of the best early-stage investment funds in the world”:
Dado Banatao is a 3-times entrepreneur and VC who pioneered the PC chip set and graphics acceleration architecture that continue to be two of the foundation technologies in every PC until today. Lee Kheng Nam was the first President of Vertex and led it for 20 years. Today he’s Vertex’s Deputy Chairman, Chairman of IIPL’s Investment Committee, and a Venture Partner at Global Granite Ventures.
Meanwhile, Gabe Turner, who runs the Draper Venture Network, said that Santos has been asked to join its board because his “expertise and passion for supporting entrepreneurs [is] instrumental in setting the direction for the new Draper Venture Network.”
“Paul represents the dynamic region of Southeast Asia,” he added, “where his ability to help innovators succeed amongst growth opportunities and challenges will be of utmost value in helping to grow our network globally.”
Santos, who has led investments into regional success stories, including online cosmetics startup Luxola, inventory management software startup TradeGecko, chat-for-work app Pie, as well as marketing network Gushcloud, said he wants to “play a more active role in helping our portfolio companies leverage the tremendous resources the network has to offer, and shape [its] direction… to benefit startups in emerging markets like Southeast Asia.”
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