This story was originally published on DealStreetAsia on November 1, 2016.
Angel networks from seven ASEAN countries – Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia – on Tuesday announced the creation of ASEAN Angel Alliance (AAA) (now known as ASEAN Business Angel Alliance, ABAA) at the Malaysian Business Angel Network (MBAN) second annual summit in Kuala Lumpur.
The alliance is aimed to promote cross-border syndication and co-investment support, as well as intra-ASEAN investment in startups, particularly tech-based companies and high growth business.
As part of the pact, MBAN joins forces with six other participating groups: HATCH Ventures of Vietnam, Cambodia Investors Corporation, the Bangkok Venture Club, the Business Angel Network (BANSEA) of Singapore, the Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN), and 1000 Angels of the Philippines. Each of these networks represents angel and investor groups in their respective countries, and has been equally involved in the entrepreneur and ecosystem development.
Currently, the alliance connects more than 1,000 angels, and the number is expected to grow.
President of MBAN, Sivapalan, said, the alliance is a joint effort that focuses on ASEAN’s angel investment landscape. In the past, collaborations between angels have been through informal and often proprietary bilateral networks.
“AAA’s presence in the ASEAN angel ecosystem will open up networks to a wider community of angels, and champion angel investing across the region,” Sivapalan said, in a statement.
According to Sivapalan, the AAA will see the angel networks of member countries working together to achieve its objectives. MBAN, representing Malaysia, for instance, has held discussions with member groups where it shared its experiences in lobbying and securing the angel tax incentive for Malaysian angel investors.
“We have angels who are investing abroad and they find it very difficult to invest and that is the reason why this network was formed. It is a challenge to do cross-border trade with different cultures and languages. Building of a network helps in many ways,” Sivapalan added.
Eventually, the AAA hopes to come up with harmonized methodologies, or frameworks, that can help ease movement of angels and capital between different countries. The forming of an angel alliance is good news for startups across the member group countries. This means that the AAA can act as a focal point for those with regional ambitions, to easily connect and interact with angels from different parts of the region.
“ASEAN startups can look forward to the day when an ‘angel round’ of fund raising will necessarily include angel investors from member groups across ASEAN. This can add value with local networks and knowledge as they scale beyond their home countries,” said Razif Aziz, executive director of MBAN.
Aziz remarked that there is a plan for AAA to approach the ASEAN Secretariat to seek both validation and funding. The step is believed to be necessary to guarantee its long-term sustainability.
Commenting on the forming of alliance, head of ANGIN, David Soukhasing, said, the partnership will materialize in active sharing of deal opportunities, sharing of educational content for angel investors, and supporting each other in market intelligence and market penetration.
“The ultimate game would be an online platform with strong back-ends so we can all conduct our cross border activities via this platform,” Soukhasing told DEALSTREETASIA.
“We see this partnership as an extension of our reach in terms of capital as we will be able to access the right capital from our overseas AAA network, while this also means an extension of our service to our Indonesian angel investors as they will be able to get access to cross border opportunities,” he added.
ANGIN is a manager-led network of high net worth individuals that provides its members and partners an end-to-end investment implementation in technology and non-technology early stage companies active in Indonesia. It also provides active acceleration and consultancy work to its investees.
About ABAA (https://www.aseanangel.com)
ABAA hopes to make the startup ecosystem in ASEAN vibrant through growing, nurturing and developing the angel investment industry in ASEAN by sharing deals, knowledge, and best practices, while enabling members to connect, engage and grow their relationships.
About BANSEA (https://www.bansea.org)
BANSEA is Asia’s oldest angel investment network that was established in 2001. It has supported thousands of entrepreneurs and companies. BANSEA members are direct investors of many of the region’s top companies.