March 4, 2019 / 2:00 PM / 22 days ago

AirAsia launches venture capital fund to back startups in Southeast Asia

March 4 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s budget carrier AirAsia Group Bhd said on Monday it is launching a venture capital fund in the United States to invest in startups seeking to enter or expand in Southeast Asia.

The fund, called RedBeat Capital, will focus on post-seed stage startups engaged in travel and lifestyle, financial technology, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

AirAsia is also partnering with San Francisco-based 500 Startups, which invests in young fast-growing companies and offers an accelerator programme for entrepreneurs. 500 Startups has supported more than 2,000 firms including Twilio, SendGrid and Grab, a southeast Asian ride-hailing firm.

RedBeat Capital will have a base in San Francisco and have access to 500 Startups deal flow, AirAsia said.

The airline last week posted a net loss in the fourth quarter, its first quarterly loss in more than three years, as higher fuel prices and operating lease costs dented income. (Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)

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