AirAsia’s digital arm sets up venture capital fund

KUALA LUMPUR (March 5): AirAsia’s digital venture arm, RedBeat Ventures, has set up a global venture capital fund, RedBeat Capital, and formed a strategic partnership with San-Franscisco-based venture capital firm, 500 Startups.

In a statement today, AirAsia said RedBeat Capital is designed to support post-seed stage startups, by investing in scalable startups seeking to enter or expand their presence in Southeast Asia (SEA), with a particular focus on travel and lifestyle, logistics as well as financial technology.

AirAsia group chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said AirAsia and RedBeat Capital are on the lookout for the world’s best and brightest to help the low-cost carrier develop a travel technology ecosystem.

“We intend to operationalise this year, working with 500 Startups CEO, Christine Tsai and her team to identify and invest in startups that are willing to grow and expand, particularly into SEA where we have the network, data and regional expertise to help accelerate their business,” he said.

RedBeat Capital will also invest in digital enablers to support these verticals such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things and cybersecurity.

With the backing of AirAsia, RedBeat Capital will have a base in San Francisco, gaining access to 500 Startups deal flow, and some of the world’s most highly sought-after accelerator programme graduates and ideas.

500 Startups’ current portfolio comprises 2,210 companies and over 5,000 founders in 74 countries, with RedBeat Capital also seeking to co-invest in select 500 Startups portfolio companies.

RedBeat Ventures operates a number of digital-related businesses, including BIGLIFE (AirAsia BIG Loyalty, travel360.com and Vidi), ROKKI, BigPay and RedCargo Logistics.

Through RedBeat Capital, it will continue to look for investment opportunities in the high-tech digital space across the Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

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