Indonesia's state-backed VC deploys $500 mln fund to help state firms

Aug 18 (Reuters) - Indonesia’s MDI Ventures has closed a new $500-million fund designed to invest in startups that can partner with state-owned firms, the venture arm of state-backed telecoms firm Telkom said on Tuesday.

The move is part of Indonesia’s strategy to make its telecoms giant more profitable and help modernize state companies in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

“The funds will be used to invest in startups primarily in series B and above that want to strengthen their position in Indonesia,” MDI’s vice-president, Aldi Adrian Hartanto, told Reuters.

The firm would assist in such efforts through collaboration with Telkom and other state-owned enterprises, he added.

The fund was raised through a commitment by Telkom, or PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange as well as in Indonesia, and with the backing of the ministry for state-owned enterprises (SOE).

With $790 million in assets, MDI Ventures is one of Southeast Asia’s largest corporate venture capital firms.

On Friday, it named Fajrin Rasyid, co-founder of Indonesian online marketplace Bukalapak and the head of Telkom Digital business, as its new chairman. (Reporting by Fanny Potkin; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)