AirAsia launches venture capital fund to back startups in Southeast Asia: 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 program 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.

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