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Sea mega deal helps take Singapore venture capital market to new heights


A US$550 million funding round raised by tech firm Sea - previously called Garena - helped propel Singapore's venture capital market to new heights in the second quarter.

This came amid a surge in venture capital investment volumes globally, mainly due to more mega deals and a rise in the number of "unicorns" - firms worth more than US$1 billion (S$1.38 billion).

Total venture capital investment here hit US$725.3 million - its second-highest level in the past 5½ years - in the second quarter, with 26 deals recorded. This followed US$403 million in the preceding three months.

The surge was largely due to the US$550 million "mega-round" raised by Sea, according to a report released by KPMG yesterday.

"This underscores the importance of mature companies fund-raising within a developing venture ecosystem such as Singapore," said Mr Chia Tek Yew, the head of financial services advisory at KPMG in Singapore.

Globally, venture capital deal value skyrocketed 55.3 per cent to US$40.1 billion in the second quarter.

The US led VC investments in the quarter with US$21.8 billion, followed by Asia (US$12.7 billion) and Europe (US$4.1 billion).

The jump was driven by a resurgence in mega-deals, including China ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing's record US$5.5 billion and news platform Toutiao's US$1 billion.

The quarter also saw the birth of 16 new unicorns globally - the most since the third quarter of 2015.

They included British virtual reality startup Improbable, Chinese bicycle-sharing firm Mobike and Chicago-based healthcare technology firm Outcome Health.

Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and health tech are also expected to be hot areas of investment for the remainder of 2017, said the report.

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