Budget airline AirAsia is launching a venture capital fund called RedBeat Capital that will invest in post-seed startups around the world who are entering or expanding their presence in Southeast Asia, it announced.
The fund targets travel and lifestyle, logistics, AI, internet of things, cybersecurity, and fintech companies. RedBeat Ventures, the entity running the fund, also said it is tying up with venture capital firm 500 Startups to access their deal flow.
Based out of San Francisco, the fund will be run by AirAsia Group deputy CEO Aireen Omar.
TechCrunch reports that the fund is targeting a first close of US$60 million and that some of the money has been raised from limited partners, which means this not quite a corporate fund. Its checks could go as high as US$1 million or even US$5 million.
Via RedBeat Ventures, AirAsia will still make investments that are more aligned with the corporate direction.
The airline is on a drive to diversify beyond its core business. CEO Tony Fernandes envisions turning AirAsia into a “digital travel company,” melding ecommerce, fintech, and travel – with all airline’s 22,000 employees – into one cohesive entity.