About Us

Who We Are?

Gobi Partners is a leading Asia-focused venture capital firm with US$1.6 billion in assets under management (AUM), headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Founded in 2002, Gobi now has a network of 15 locations, raised 17 funds and invested in 380 startups. The firm supports entrepreneurs from early to growth stages, with a particular focus on emerging markets.

Gobi's core mission includes empowering underserved entrepreneurs, promoting gender equality and circular economy initiatives, driving innovation in new markets and technologies, and nurturing entrepreneurial ecosystems. As a UN Global Compact Participant, Gobi aligns its strategies with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption.

Values

We Strive

to uplift people across gender, race, religion and ethnicity in emerging markets beyond the continent. We are committed to improving ourselves as well as our community around us.

We Believe

in connecting entrepreneurial ecosystems, one emerging market at a time. We believe in entrepreneurs in Asia and their ability to empower communities and address socio-economic issues, given the opportunity and capital to do so.

We Invest

in diverse sectors and founders, supporting female leaders, promoting gender equality and the Muslim economy.

Our Entrepreneurs

are often pioneers or first movers in new markets and technologies, carving their own niches to solve Asia’s greatest challenges. Our entrepreneurs constantly thread new paths and break new ground, backed by Gobi’s Pan-Asian network of investors, startups, public and private sector partners.

Our Portfolios

create thousands of jobs, uplift their local communities and reach millions of people across the continent each year.

We Are Privileged

to work with entrepreneurs, governments, corporates, investors and NGOs to bring the best ideas to life.

Milestones

  • 2023

    • Gobi Partners, through its recently launched Gobi Dana Impak Fund, has welcomed Care Concierge, a Malaysian senior care service provider, to its portfolio. Care Concierge offers comprehensive healthcare solutions to cater to the unique needs of its clients, and this partnership aims to leverage its expertise to drive positive social impact in the region.
    • Gobi Partners and UN Women presents the “Asia Gender-Smart Investing Workshop,” building on their existing collaboration to empower women in Southeast Asia. The workshop provides entrepreneurs and investors with valuable insights on integrating gender-responsive strategies within their organization through knowledge sharing, technical assistance, and mentorship.
    • Khazanah Nasional Berhad's Future Malaysia Programme, part of its Dana Impak mandate has appointed Gobi Partners as one of the venture capital funds to connect regional venture funds with Malaysian companies and enable local startups to expand globally, aiming to create regional champions.
    • Gobi invested in four prominent companies into the Superseed II Fund, including Durioo+, a streaming service that focuses on Islamic-themed content, Lapasar, an e-commerce marketplace, Paywatch, a provider of earned wage access solutions, and pitchIN, an online investment platform. These companies have been recognized as industry leaders and possess the potential to expand their operations significantly, thereby generating substantial economic returns for Malaysia.
    • The Gobi-Core Philippine Fund (Gobi-Core) has received official accreditation as a Co-Investment Partner (CIP) from the Philippine government's Startup Venture Fund (SVF). This distinction marks Gobi-Core as one of the earliest recipients of such recognition since the fund's establishment in 2021.

  • 2022

    • Gobi appointed Carlo Chen-Delantar as Head of ESG, to further advance the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda.
    • Gobi became one of the first VC signatories to support the One Global Women Empowerment (OGWE) platform launched by the Business 20’s (B20) Women in Business Action Council (WIBAC).
    • Ethis Group, a leading operator of ethical investment and social finance platforms, has partnered with Gobi to establish the first-ever Shariah-compliant seed fund, with a primary focus on the MENA and ASEAN regions. The collaboration aims to structure and launch the fund, which marks a significant milestone in ethical investment, particularly in these regions.
    • Allianz Malaysia joins Gobi Partners' Malaysia-focused SuperSeed II Fund.
    • Gobi celebrates its 20th anniversary of connecting entrepreneurial ecosystems, one emerging market at a time.
    • Gobi wins Global Startup Awards as 2021 Investors of the Year.
    • Gobi Partners and Ozora Yatrapaktaja launches the Ratu Nusa Fund, a US$10 million seed fund dedicated to supporting women-led seed-stage and pre-Series A companies in Indonesia.
    • Gobi publishes its first inaugural Sustainability Report showcasing its accomplishments and ongoing efforts in promoting economic development, environmental restoration, and social equality & justice through its Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices and sustainability initiatives.

  • 2021

    • Gobi portfolio companies raise a cumulative US$2.5 billion in funding, across 48 uprounds.
    • Four Gobi portfolio companies become unicorns: Hong Kong gaming company Animoca, crypto trader Amber and biotech Prenetics as well as Malaysia’s car e-commerce marketplace Carsome (also Malaysia’s first unicorn).
    • Gobi becomes a participant of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact and commits to the universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
    • Gobi co-hosts the inaugural regional Asia Gender-Lens Smart Investing Forum with UN Women, drawing 557 registrants and 34 speakers across 48 countries.
    • Gobi exceeds its US$50 million commitment into women founders made in 2018, as part of the Beyond the Billion pledge.
    • The Gobi-Core Philippines Fund adds three new investees: esports and gaming company Tier One Entertainment, cloud kitchen pioneer CloudEats, and the online gift store FlowerStore.
    • One of Gobi-Core’s earliest investees, social media and live streaming platform Kumu, becomes the Philippines’ first Series C startup, with total fundraising exceeding US$100 million.
    • Gobi unveils the Gobi-Core Philippine Startup Ecosystem Report, an essential guide to the exponential funding growth in the country.
    • Fatima Gobi Ventures joins CodeGirls, a community-funded coding boot camp for girls in Pakistan.
    • Fatima Gobi Ventures adds nine new investees in Pakistan: TAG, Truck It In, Safepay, Maqsad, Rider, Zarya, Trellis, Udhaar Book and Savyour.
    • The world’s first and one of the largest impact investors, UK’s CDC Group, makes an anchor investment in Fatima Gobi Ventures’ oversubscribed Techxila Fund I.

  • 2020

    • Gobi becomes a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP) by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
    • Gobi’s Superseed II Championship is one of Malaysia’s largest startup competitions hosted by a VC, involving 212 startups.
    • Fatima Gobi Ventures joins Women Ventures, a financing program by Karandaaz to improve access to finance for business women in Pakistan.
    • Fatima Gobi Ventures adds two new investees: B2B e-commerce platform Tajir and electronics design collaboration platform Inventhub.
    • Gobi joins the Malaysian Sustainable Finance Initiative (MSFI) to invest in the sustainability sector and engage in capacity building, upskilling, awareness and thought leadership on sustainable finance.

  • 2019

    • Gobi-Core makes its first two investments: healthtech Maria Health and student portal operator Edukasyon.ph.
    • Gobi is the first Asian VC firm to launch a fund in Pakistan, partnering with Fatima Ventures to set up Fatima Gobi Ventures (FGV).
    • FGV’s US$20 million Techxila Fund I invests in ridesharing service Airlift.
    • Gobi debuts the US$10 million Malaysia SuperSeed Fund II with Malaysia Venture Capital Management (Mavcap) and Malaysian conglomerate, Sunway Group.
    • Gobi invests in Hong Kong self-driving startup AutoX, which later becomes a unicorn in 2021.
    • Gobi is named among the most active firms for ASEAN VC deals by Preqin.
    • Gobi wins Investor of the Year at the ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards.

  • 2018

  • 2017

  • 2016

    • Gobi sets up the ASEAN SuperSeed Fund with Mavcap, investing in seed-stage companies in the region, including Malaysian used car marketplace, Carsome.
    • Gobi enters Vietnam, investing in the world’s first sustainable travel co-op on blockchain - Triip.me.
    • Thomas G. Tsao coins the term ‘TaqwaTech” for Gobi’s investments into the Muslim economy and makes its first investment in Malaysian Muslim-friendly holiday booking service – Tripfez.
    • Gobi invests in on-demand logistics company GoGoX, which becomes Hong Kong’s first unicorn in 2017.
    • Gobi invests in Australian-Hong Kong fintech Airwallex, which joins Gobi’s unicorn ranks in 2019. It is also the fastest-growing in Australia.
    • Gobi makes Forbes’ list of China’s top VCs.

  • 2015

    • Gobi enters Thailand, investing in workplace mobile messaging app developer Eko Communications (now Amity).
    • Gobi secures an anchor commitment from Malaysian government venture fund, Mavcap, to start Gobi Fund III.
    • Gobi becomes the first VC firm appointed by Alibaba to manage its HK$1 billion Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.
    • Gobi makes Forbes’ list of China’s top VCs.

  • 2014

  • 2013

    • Gobi Partners invests in Indonesian smart news aggregator BaBe’s Series A funding round. BaBe (founded by Liew Weihan, Venture Partner, GGV Capital) receives strategic investment from ByteDance.
    • Gobi makes Forbes’ list of China’s top VCs.

  • 2012

    • Chinese government agency, The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), invests in Gobi’s RMB-denominated Yingzhi Fund, bringing its size up to RMB350 million.
    • Gobi invests in Chinese e-takeaway service Dianwoda. In 2018, Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics arm acquires Dianwoda.

  • 2011

  • 2009

  • 2002 - 2008

    • Gobi endures and survives through both the SARS outbreak in Greater China (2002-2004) and the Great Recession (2007-2009).
    • Gobi establishes an incubator in Zhangjiang, Shanghai for its early-stage companies.
    • Gobi is invited to meet the Top 25 VCs of Silicon Valley hosted by Silicon Valley Bank in Beijing - a seminal event in the development of China's technology ecosystem.
    • DMG launches the world’s first subway soap opera in Shanghai starring Huang Xiaoming and sponsored by Starbucks.
    • Gobi raises US$151 million Gobi Fund II.
    • Gobi is the first international VC firm to raise a renminbi (RMB)-denominated fund with the Tianjin city government, the RMB150 million Gobi Hitech Fund.
    • Gobi opens up its first office in CITIC Square on West Nanjing Road, Shanghai.
    • Founding Partner Thomas G. Tsao sets up Gobi Partners in Shanghai, one of the first international VC firms to do so. Gobi is named after China's Gobi Desert, as sand is a raw material used in producing silicon chips that power computers.

Environmental, Social and Governance

As stewards of this planet, we have the responsibility to preserve the planet for generations to come. We see venture capital as a force for good and an opportunity to inspire sustainable actions and solutions across our portfolio companies.

We invest in the most talented, diverse entrepreneurs who create the greatest social value for underserved markets. Through a strong ESG foundation, these companies not only positively transform ecosystems but are also resilient and deliver positive returns to our investors.

Integrating good ESG practices into the strategy and operations of early-stage startups is fundamental for a company's sustainable growth. Companies with good ESG principles not only see better employee retention, but also enhance their value to customers, stakeholders and investors.

Framework

As a participant of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and a signatory of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) by UN Women, we use international sustainability standards for our ESG framework from the UNGC, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), International Labor Organization (ILO) Multinational Enterprises (MNE) Declaration and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Gobi’s ESG framework ensures our investments remain socially responsible and are consistent with the best practices across the venture capital industry. During the pre-investment stage, companies are screened against our exclusion mandate based on the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Performance Standards and Corporate Governance Methodology and extensive due diligence of ESG risks and opportunities are performed.

Post-investment, our monitoring teams ensure value creation through tracking and measuring key ESG factors that are most material and customized to each company. We see this as not only a moral imperative, but a competitive advantage in long-term financial sustainability and resiliency for entrepreneurs.

Criteria

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

At Gobi, we have two investment themes in support of diversity and underserved markets: TaqwaTech and Women Founders.

Inclusion

We coined the term TaqwaTech in 2016 to represent investments into Islamic ventures and the Muslim economy. TaqwaTech recognizes the lack of opportunities and inclusion faced by entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority nations or startups catering to the close to two billion Muslim adherents globally.

Through the TaqwaTech vertical, Gobi hopes to invest in underserved entrepreneurs and innovators in emerging markets, including:

  • Entrepreneurs building tech-driven products or services for the Halal economy (HolidayMe, Tripfez)
  • Entrepreneurs building tech-driven products or services that serve majority Muslim economies (Melltoo: UAE, Airlift: Pakistan)
  • Muslim entrepreneurs building technology-driven products or services that serve global market (Aerodyne)

Kamarul Mohamed

Digvijay Pratap & Geet Bhalla

Morad Irsane & Sharene Lee

Gender equality

Throughout our ESG-driven pre-investment and investment processes, Gobi’s commitment to ensuring diversity in voices and inclusive management teams has resulted in Women Founders being at the forefront of our portfolio companies.

  • 31% of Gobi ASEAN's portfolio companies were led by women founders, with 51% of C-suite management level positions filled by women.
  • Women founders backed by Gobi are present in diverse markets: Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and China.
  • Gobi has guided women-founded and women-led startups from funding to unicorn status [Airwallex], exit [Favful], up-rounds [DayDayCook] and even pivoting their business models [Travelio].

Lucy Liu

Norma Chu

Christina Suriadjaja

Emerging markets

In seeking untapped reserves of talent and opportunity, we have found our most exciting startups and most innovative entrepreneurs in emerging markets. These bold founders are constantly finding unique solutions to their communities' most pressing issues. Throughout our ESG-driven pre-investment and investment processes, Gobi’s commitment to ensuring diversity in voices and inclusive management teams has resulted in Women Founders being at the forefront of our portfolio companies.

  • In the Philippines where only 2% of households have private insurance, Maria Health is helping democratize the archipelago nation’s health insurance marketplace. The insurtech offers individuals access to plans offered by the same insurers and health maintenance organizations that cover employees at large corporations.
  • In Pakistan, Tajir is revolutionizing and streamlining a highly informal and fragmented retail economy where 91% of retail flows through ‘mom-and-pop’ stores’. The B2B e-commerce marketplace offers competitive prices, a large selection of products, and next-day delivery to its 15,000 micro-SME customers

 

ESG Leadership

Our ESG policies are integrated with dedicated team leaders from diverse cultures, geographies and professional roles to keep ESG at the heart of our operations.

ESG Committee

Gobi’s dedicated ESG Committee meets quarterly to set the overall direction for ESG policy and strategy across all aspects of the business, including our portfolio companies. Its members include:

    ESG Task Force
    For day-to-day integration of ESG management systems and capacity building, Gobi’s ESG Taskforce monitors ESG performance data in line with management performance objectives. Its members include:



  • Angie LamSecretariat
  • Ee Leen GuiTraining and Human Resources
  • Imran HafizTaqwaTech Value Creation
  • Lidiana RosliReporting and Coordinator Lead
  • Miranda ChengGovernance & Compliance
  • Neil CheongStartup Value Creation
  • Renee PanDiversity & Environment (China & GBA)
  • Wayne ChanValue Creation and Measurement Lead

ESG Partnerships

Gobi actively develops and integrates its ESG policies in partnership with international and regional sustainability organizations to ensure community impact, accountability and transparency.

October 2018

The Billion Dollar Fund (TBDF)

Gobi pledged to invest US$50 million in businesses established by women, as part of a global consortium of venture funds committed to addressing the investment gap and investing US$1 billion by 2020 in women-founded companies.

April 2019

She Loves Tech

Gobi is an international organizing partner for world's largest startup competition for women and tech, hosting local competitions for Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and providing advocacy and capacity-building support for the Southeast Asia region as ambassadors, judges, mentors, and speakers.

April 2020

Karandaaz

Gobi signed an MOU with Karandaaz Pakistan to facilitate deal referrals, co-investment and investment management for a portfolio of women-owned and managed businesses through the Women Ventures program.

December 2020

Malaysian Sustainable Finance Initiative (MSFI)

Gobi has committed to investing in the sustainability sector and engaging in capacity building, upskilling, awareness and thought leadership on financing green or sustainable projects.

April 2021

Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) by UN Women

Gobi signed an MOU with UN Women to establish collaborative activities in advancing women’s economic empowerment (WEE) and women in leadership roles in Southeast Asia with the joint development of an ecosystem that champions women entrepreneurs, women-led businesses, and businesses that have a gender lens.

May 2021

UN Global Compact (UNGC)

Since May 2021, Gobi has been committed to the United Nations Global Compact corporate responsibility initiative and its principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption.

June 2021

CodeGirls

Gobi has signed an MOU to conduct joint training and recruitment activities, and support in sponsoring and nominating candidates to the CodeGirls program, a community-funded coding boot camp for girls, based in Karachi, Pakistan.

Grievance Form

If you would like to report an ESG issue with Gobi Partners or its portfolio companies, please fill out the Official Grievance Form.

Awards and Recognition

We are regarded as one of the trailblazers of the Asian startup ecosystem by industry leaders.