We are proud to announce our new fund. Start Today Ventures is one of Southeast Asia’s first venture funds to focus specifically on one industry sector (and a topic we have a great interest in): online fashion. The fund will seek out ambitious founders who are using disruptive technology to build winners in this exciting segment. To help realise this, we have partnered with Start Today, the US$10B company behind Japan’s leading online branded fashion retailer Zozotown, to bring their valuable expertise to startups in Southeast Asia.
Fashion in Southeast Asia is a US$40 billion sector, which is growing rapidly in both the mass-market unbranded segment and higher-end branded segments. Home-grown fashion brands have started to emerge, boosting choice in the market and creating new opportunities for retailers. Digitalization adds an interesting upside to the market, enabling brands and retailers to grow faster and reach customers beyond the malls in major cities. As the sector shifts online, a variety of associated opportunities for B2B services are developing as technology gets applied throughout the supply chain.
We’ll apply lessons learned from Cento’s six years of investing in Southeast Asia startups that have achieved product-market fit and are ready to scale regionally. You can read more about the thesis that guides all investment decisions we make here. Raising a targeted fund of this type is a validation of the rapid development of Southeast Asian technology, and Cento’s approach to supporting founders as they address some of the large opportunities present across the ASEAN region. The partnership with Start Today adds additional upside in the form of their in-depth expertise of building one of Asia’s largest fashion eCommerce companies.
The fund will be led by Reina Nakamura. She comments “I’m very excited to be leading this new fund for Cento and Start Today. The fashion space in Southeast Asia is ready for rapid digital growth and Start Today Ventures has already built a strong pipeline of companies we are keen to invest in. Over the coming months, I’ll be spending more time meeting ambitious founders who are using technology to change the fashion industry and to see if we can partner with them, whether they are running a company focused on eCommerce, manufacturing, media, or price comparison”.
We’re excited that Start Today Ventures gives us a chance to dive deep into the digital fashion segment and to partner with even more exceptional founders. For founders looking to raise funds, they can now talk to a specialist investor who has a deep understanding of the needs of their sector, and who can back their companies at the point they are ready to go scale up, and throughout their journey.