PSPCs target Southeast Asian startups and investors take note


Gojek drivers wearing protective masks wait for a customer along a road in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Dimas Ardian | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Early stage start-ups in Southeast Asia are attracting growing interest from blank check companies who want to go public, a venture capitalist told CNBC.

More than 40 PSPCs – or special purpose acquisition companies – are targeting the region, according to Vinnie Lauria, managing partner at venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures.

“PSPC has really put ASEAN on the map,” Lauria said Thursday on CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia”, referring to the Southeast Asian economic bloc comprising 10 member states. Other late stage investors, including private equity players, are taking note and writing important checks in the region, he said.

“The next decade is going to be a very competitive decade for CEOs. You’re going to have to go from 5,000 to 5,000 a lot faster, to be more competitive and (and for) more money,” Lauria said.

SAVS are shell companies created to raise funds through an initial public offering, with the sole aim of merging or acquiring an existing private company and listing it on the stock market.

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Lauria told CNBC that a number of Golden Gate portfolio companies have been approached by PSPCs and many of them have said they are not yet ready to go public because being a company private has its advantages.

“For a lot of our companies, they see (going public) as something in one, two or three years. So they don’t automatically jump on a PSPC,” Lauria said. “When they’re ready to go public, whether it’s a PSPC or a traditional IPO, they’ll make that call.”

Online classifieds firm Carousell – one of the names in Golden Gate’s portfolio – is said to be exploring listing options via the PSPC route.


Golden Gate said in a report released Thursday that by 2030, the number of IPOs in Southeast Asia will exceed 300 as more local start-ups seek to list in national public markets. The venture capitalist expects a rise in medical technology start-ups, as well as a dominance of social commerce over online transactions.

As the coronavirus pandemic has driven many physical business transactions online, Lauria pointed out that technology companies in areas such as food delivery, telemedicine, e-commerce and financial technology have experienced strong growth. This trend is expected to continue in the near future.

Southeast Asia is home to some 400 million internet users and 10% of them logged on for the first time in 2020. The internet economy in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand – the region’s largest economies – is planned. to cross $ 300 billion by 2025, according to a report last year.

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