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AP1 Lead Investor in New Aberdeen Secondaries Fund

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ap1_swedenFörsta AP-fonden (AP1), one of five buffer funds for the Swedish pension system, is acting as lead investor in Aberdeen Asset Management’s new secondaries fund Aberdeen European Secondaries Real Estate.

According to Aberdeen, the secondaries fund received just over €151 million in commitments and will be composed of around 15 funds with exposure to 200 European properties.

Sweden’s €105 billion (US$ 142.72 billion) national income pension system is managed by five AP funds: AP1 – AP4 and AP6 – AP5 was dissolved and no longer exists. (For further enquiry, AP1’s website has a consolidated history of the funds). Each fund is independently managed. AP1 is tasked with generating a total return of 5.5% over a rolling 5 year period. In its semi-annual report, AP1 reported that it had produced an annualized return of 6.1%, surpassing its target.

However, despite this performance, the funds have been criticized for high fees and less than stellar returns. The Swedish government commissioned Mats Langensjö, a management consultant, to conduct a report on the funds’ alleged inefficiencies. His recommendations were to consolidate the funds from 5 to 3 with an organization to be named the Pension Reserve Board overseeing the entire operation.

Langensjö’s suggestions were made just over one year ago, but until now the Swedish government has not fully acted on them. The only positive action came in the form of an April 8th newsletter in which the Swedish government stated it would review the AP funds sometime this year. For now the matter is still ongoing.

Anne Sheehan to Retire, CalSTRS 1st Corp Gov Director

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Anne Sheehan, the first Corporate Governance Director at California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the current one, plans to retire March 30, 2018. Sheehan’s team manages an activist portfolio worth around US$ 4.1 billion, seeking to influence and help turnaround its large portfolio holdings in select public companies. Sheehan was hired back in 2008.

Christopher J. Ailman, CalSTRS’ chief investment officer, said in a organization release, “Anne has been my most unconventional, best hire.”

A replacement search is underway.

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Temasek Rides with Google on Go-Jek

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Singapore’s Temasek Holdings has reportedly joined forces with Google LLC and Chinese on-demand service provider Meituan-Dianping as part of a US$ 1.2 billion fundraising effort for Indonesian ride-hailing startup Go-Jek that has put regional rivals like Uber and Singapore-based Grab on notice.

Screen Shot Go-Jek, January 19, 2018

Although exact figures for individual stakes have so far been kept secret, the new infusion of capital puts Go-Jek, incorporated as PT Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa, at a valuation of roughly US$ 4 billion. Samsung Venture Investment Corporation also participated in funding, as well as existing private equity investors KKR & Co. LP and Warburg Pincus LLC.

Google’s direct involvement in Go-Jek’s growth – rather than through its Google Ventures unit – highlights its faith in the latent potential of ride-sharing services – and the tech-enabled consumer services sector as a whole – in Southeast Asia. Home to more than 640 million potential customers, the region was identified as the fastest growing emerging market for e-commerce globally in an industry report published jointly by Google and Temasek last December. According to data compiled by the internet-giant and the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, ride-sharing in Southeast Asia is expected to grow into a US$ 20.1 billion industry by 2025, compared to US$ 5.1 billion in 2017.

2011 Origin Story

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Temasek Leads Series B Round for Chinese Robo Startup Rokid

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Rokid Corporation Limited, a Chinese robotics startup that specializes in smart devices assisted by artificial intelligence (AI), announced the closing of a Series B extension round through its WeChat account on January 18, 2018. The capital-raising effort was led by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, with additional contributions from Credit Suisse Group, China Development Bank’s overseas investment arm CDIB Capital International, and existing investor IDG Capital. Although Rokid did not disclose the size or terms of the deal in its announcement, the technology company reportedly secured US$ 100 million in funding.

Founded in 2014 by chief executive Mingming Zhu and chief financial officer Eric Wong, Rokid’s core products consist of its smart speakers, the Rokid Pebble and Alien, as well as the newly debuted Rokid Glass augmented reality spectacles. The company’s most exciting offering, however, is its Full Stack Open Platform, a collaborative effort made in partnership with Alibaba that gives third-party developers backdoor access Rokid’s software suite and hardware integration and will – it hopes – help give its offerings the accessibility and recognition they need to thrive outside its home market of China.

Rokid is particularly keen on bringing its products to the U.S., where it believes it can challenge Google and Amazon’s dominance in the smart home arena. Amazon makes the Amazon Echo, while Google has Google Home.

The Series B

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