CJ International Asia, KK Fund form joint venture fund to invest in SE Asia startups


Global grain trading company CJ International Asia (CJIA) and Singapore-based KK Fund have launched HIVEN, a joint venture fund to invest in startups developing breakthrough technologies in “food, agriculture, and bio” in Southeast Asia.

KK Fund is an early-stage, Southeast Asia-focused venture capital fund, founded in 2015 by Kuan Hsu and Koichi Saito. that backs founders early in their entrepreneurial journey.

Meanwhile, CJIA purchases raw sugar, wheat, and other agricultural products on behalf of the affiliates of CJ Group, one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates. “We are excited to embark on this cross-learning development with KK Fund, which is a seasoned VC investor with a long, established track record across Southeast Asia,” said LEE Dong Bahk, CJIA’s CEO in a statement.

“The food, agriculture, and bio sectors are still in their early days in terms of investments, and I expect that with the vast resources and expertise that CJIA brings, the time is ripe for this new Joint Venture Fund to unlock the potential in the region,” Kuan Hsu from KK Fund noted.

To date, KK Fund has invested in 27 startups in Southeast Asia including Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, according to the firm’s website. Among its prominent investees are Vietnamese healthcare startups Med247 and HR-tech startup JobHop, besides Thai esports platform Infofed and property portal ZmyHome.

It also invests in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In 2020, KK Fund partnered with Japan’s Industrial Growth Platform Pte. Ltd (Singapore arm) to support the creation of new startups from large corporates in Southeast Asia. The two firms plan to launch an SEA Point programme as a platform for large companies to create new businesses.

In July last year, KK Fund’s co-founder and general partner Koichi Saito told DealStreetAsia that the VC is in the process of raising its third investment vehicle that would target healthcare, education and human resources. The VC has two other funds – a micro-fund that was started in 2015, and one that was launched at the end of 2016 to focus on seed-stage startups.


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