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Golden Gate Ventures: $10 Million Fund for SEA Startups Launches Today

GOLDEN GATE VENTURES LOGOKa-ching! Great news for entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia this Monday morning. Golden Gate Ventures, we have been told directly, is a newly set-up US$10 million venture fund focusing on startups in Southeast Asia – especially Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The fund is looking to invest in startups that are of the consumer Internet genre. You know – web, mobile, social, local, e-commerce, and what not.

Golden Gate Ventures will be run by three familiar names in tech circles: Vinnie Lauria, Jeffrey Paine, and Paul Bragiel. Plus, two institutional partners, i/o Ventures and Founder Institute, will also support the new fund. Investment will range from $50,000 to $500,000 per shot.

The investors at Golden Gate Ventures are made up of folks who have entrepreneurship and investing experience both in U.S and Asian markets. Vinnie has run five startups since high school. His last venture was Lefora.com, a forum hosting platform with over 100,000 communities hosted on it. Lefora was acquired by CrowdGather in 2010.

Two of Golden Gate Ventures' three founders are pictured here: Vinnie Lauria (L), and Paul Bragiel (R). (Image source: SFGate.com)

Paul, also an entrepreneur himself, has had a long working relationship with Vinnie. Both of them started Meetro.com and have gone through the scrappy entrepreneurship lifestyle (pictured above). Paul is also the founding partner of i/o Ventures.

The Asian experience and connection will come from Jeffrey Paine who runs Founders Institute Singapore and a startup called Pyrks. Jeffrey has overseen new Founders Institute launches in Jakarta, Hanoi, Hong Kong. A new Sydney-based Founders Institute is also in the pipeline.

Besides money, Golden Gate Ventures will also be providing mentorship and will serve as a bridge between Silicon Valley and the Southeast Asian network/market. Vinnie elaborates:

[We also provide] strong mentorship through our network, follow-on funding through our network, hands-on experience. […] And finally, we’ll be providing shared office space in the Valley for two to three startups per year for one to two months.

Asian startups are not expected to move to the Valley, though, as I clarified with Golden Gate Ventures. However, Vinnie hopes to pass on skills – as he termed it: ‘SV best practices’ – such as speed, soft-launching, customer feedback development, and pivoting, to entrepreneurs in this region. He added:

Entrepreneurs get the benefit of working alongside valley co-founders [and also] get benefit from US exposure [if they were] to launch their service from the Valley.

Southeast Asia is hot – both the startup ecosystem and the weather. Two weeks ago, Ru-net, a Russian-based venture fund, also announced a $50 million fund focusing on the Southeast Asian region. Hmmm… who will be next?

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