Ex-president of Sea Ltd launches PE firm to back Southeast Asia start-ups

SINGAPORE, June 14 (Reuters) - Nicholas Nash, the former president of Singapore-based online gaming and e-commerce company Sea Ltd, has launched a private equity firm - Asia Partners - to invest in Southeast Asian technology start-ups.

Asia Partners’ four other co-founders include Oliver Rippel, a former senior executive of South Africa’s Naspers, and Pitra Ciputra Harun, who was previously with Indonesian e-commerce company Bukalapak, according to the company statement on Friday.

The private equity firm aims to make investments of between $20 million and $100 million.

Nash, who was previously the Southeast Asian head of U.S. fund General Atlantic, played a key role in Tencent-backed Sea's initial public offer on the New York Stock Exchange, in which it raised nearly $900 million. Nash left Sea last year.

“At Asia Partners, we believe deeply in the potential for growth equity to accelerate economic growth throughout Southeast Asia,” said Rippel, who had led Naspers’ investment in India’s Flipkart.

Southeast Asia has turned into a battleground for start-ups, racing to provide payments to e-commerce to the region’s nearly 650 million people, with investors keen to back them.

A 2018 report by Bain and Co said the region will give rise to at least 10 companies with a market value of more than $1 billion each by 2024. (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)