AirAsia has launched a new venture capital fund, RedBeat Capital, to invest in start-up businesses that aims to boost the low-cost carrier’s ancillary segment.
RedBeat Capital will work alongside San Francisco-based venture capital firm 500 Startups in supporting businesses seeking to enter or expand their presence in southeast Asia, with a particular focus on travel and lifestyle, logistics, and financial technology.
It will also invest in digital streams as such artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and cyber security.
“AirAsia and RedBeat Capital are on the lookout for the world’s best and brightest to help us develop a travel technology ecosystem,” says AirAsia Group’s chief executive Tony Fernandes.
“We intend to operationalise this year… to identify and invest in startups that are willing to grow and expand, particularly into southeast Asia where we have the network, data and regional expertise to help accelerate their business.”
AirAsia adds that the venture capital fund will complement and enhance the group carrier’s transformation into a travel technology company.
In a separate interview, Fernandes tells FlightGlobal that AirAsia has already invested over $10 million into RedBeat Capital.
“One of the reasons we’re doing what we’re doing is because you can’t survive long-haul low-cost purely on an airfare, so there are lots of ancillary streams to supplement that,” he said.
AirAsia’s digital venture arm RedBeat Ventures will oversee RedBeat Capital. Aireen Omar, who is AirAsia Group’s deputy chief executive for technology, also serves as the chief executive of RedBeat Ventures.