Aiming to build a bridge between East and West — specifically, Singapore and London — the Singaporean state-funded VC Infocomm Investments is extending its $200 million fund to European tech startups, including investing in the London-based fintech accelerator run by Startupbootcamp. The idea is to help the European/London startups it invests in to access markets in Singapore and Asia as a whole, with the former having ambitious plans to become a ‘Smart Nation’, creating a multitude of opportunities for tech startups home and abroad.
“Singapore is a great gateway to Asia and we believe Southeast Asia is the consumer market of the future,” Zach Tan, director of Infocomm Investments’ London office, tells TechCrunch. “Beyond growth capital, with our strong knowledge of Asian market opportunities, operations and culture, we are able to provide mentoring, networks and infrastructure to ease their process of setting up a business in Asia through Singapore.”
Tan also explains that the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the fund’s parent organisation, is looking to build Singapore into a Smart Nation. “They are providing plenty of opportunities for tech startups to develop big ideas in areas such as urban density, healthcare, public safety and city planning, and we could help plug startups into these programmes,” he says.
Meanwhile, facing the other way, Infocomm Investments sees London as its gateway into Europe, not least in relation to fintech startups, hence investing first in Startupbootcamp’s London-based fintech accelerator.
“Singapore is the financial and business hub of Southeast Asia with lots of exciting new opportunities for fintech startups to build and grow a business. We see that the financial sector is increasingly engaging with the startup community for new innovations to keep their competitive edge,” says Tan. “Our partnership with Startupbootcamp FinTech is unique in the sense that we are investing in accelerators to bridge two continents – Europe and Asia, and build new tech startups that are familiar with both ecosystems from the very beginning.”
To that end, Tan says Infocomm Investments’ sweet spot is to invest between $1-5 million and that its investment in Startupbootcamp FinTech falls within that range. In terms of the kind of startups he’s looking for, “big ideas and the ability to solve global challenges” are cited.
“Like all VCs, we are looking for differentiation, scalability, and a strong team. Areas like big data & analytics, mobility, digital media, sensors/Internet-of-Things, enterprise and security would be of interest,” he adds.
In particular, Infocomm Investments is looking to co-invest with other VCs in London typically at Series A or B stage, for startups who are planning to expand into Asia through Singapore. The fund’s current portfolio includes DataXu, Gengo, Just Commodity, Mobilewalla, Quid, Reebonz and Twilio.