S'pore firm iGlobe's latest VC fund to invest $132m in fintech, biotech start-ups

Ms Koh Soo Boon started iGlobe in Silicon Valley in 1999 and moved its headquarters to her native Singapore a decade later. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Singapore's iGlobe Partners closed its latest venture capital fund, which plans to invest US$100 million (S$132.3 million) in start-ups focusing on synthetic biology, fintech and technologies for smart cities.

The firm's fourth fund, iGlobe Platinum Fund III, will back 15 to 20 start-ups across the United States, Europe and South-east Asia to fund their growth over the next three years, according to a statement from the company on Thursday (June 3).

IGlobe, with a history of more than two decades, is betting on emerging trends in healthcare and technology to fuel its growth. The new fund, which was oversubscribed, will back start-ups including cancer diagnostic service C2i Genomics and personal finance start-up NerdWallet in the US as well as Singapore-based Docquity, a mobile app for doctors, and Tonik, a digital bank in the Philippines.

"We focus on cross-border deep tech, which other people can't easily copy," iGlobe founder Koh Soo Boon said in an interview. "We are in the business of building companies, rather than just making a quick buck."

Ms Koh started iGlobe in Silicon Valley in 1999 and moved its headquarters to her native Singapore a decade later. The firm has scored big with California-based Matterport, which helps consumers visit properties and shopping malls virtually and is going public in a US$2.9 billion deal. IGlobe joined Matterport's Series A fundraising and three subsequent rounds.

Other iGlobe portfolio companies, including Ginkgo Bioworks, Hippo Enterprises and NerdWallet, are also planning to go public in the US this year, allowing the firm to deliver strong returns, according to Ms Koh. IGlobe's future investments could include women's healthcare, mental healthcare and 3D printing start-ups, she said.

IGlobe Platinum Fund I has delivered 13 times capital return with a net internal rate of return of 33 per cent, making it one of the top 5 per cent of VC funds launched in 2010 globally, according to the company.

"IGlobe is often the sole investor from Asia in the investment deals it is involved in," managing partner Yoke Sin Chong said in the statement. "Our global network allows us to facilitate as the bridge between the Western and Asian start-up ecosystems."

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