CapitaLand sets up venture fund to support start-ups

Company seeking to encourage innovative ideas for construction industry

CapitaLand president and chief executive Lim Ming Yan announcing the initiative at a networking event in San Francisco on June 15. PHOTO: CAPITALAND

CapitaLand has set up a venture fund to support start-ups focusing on innovation in the construction industry.

The C31 Ventures fund is part of the developer's strategy to gain access to ideas that will become increasingly crucial in construction, such as shopping malls with complete network connectivity or residences that use digital technology.

The fund, in which CapitaLand is prepared to invest up to $100 million, will target companies that devise new technology in areas such as energy, maintenance, design and building materials, real estate funding and customer engagement.

Start-ups seeking C31 funding will be assessed on whether their innovations are relevant to CapitaLand. Shortlisted start-ups will then be further reviewed based on criteria such as how fast their products could begin to sell, their product and financial viability, their valuation and the efficiency of their operations.

The reviews will be undertaken by an investment committee comprising senior CapitaLand managers and external advisers from the CapitaLand technology council such as Mr David Su, the managing partner of Matrix Partners China, and Mr Foo Jixun, the managing partner of GGV Capital. Matrix Partners and GGV Capital are venture capital firms.

C31 last month invested $15 million in the Early Stage Venture Fund III set up by the National Research Foundation to support local tech start-ups.

"CapitaLand's portfolio of real estate assets offers a living lab to start-ups where they can validate their ideas and prototypes... CapitaLand will also serve as a conduit for start-ups to enter the regional market, especially China," said CapitaLand president and chief executive Lim Ming Yan, who announced the initiative at a networking event in San Francisco yesterday.

The firm has invested heavily in China, including the Sino-Singapore Collaboration Centre at Raffles City Chongqing.

Apart from setting up the venture fund, CapitaLand has been scouting for tech start-ups recently in areas such as data analytics and virtual and augmented reality in New York and San Francisco.

The company also joined the Microsoft Accelerator programme this month as an official global network partner to mentor innovative start-ups.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2016, with the headline CapitaLand sets up venture fund to support start-ups. Subscribe