Start Singapore

Monk's Hill managing director Lim Kuo-Yi
Monk's Hill managing director Lim Kuo-Yi
Singtel Innov8 CEO Edgar Hardless speaking at the launch of the partnership at the DLD Conference in Tel Aviv, with representatives from Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica.
Singtel Innov8 CEO Edgar Hardless speaking at the launch of the partnership at the DLD Conference in Tel Aviv, with representatives from Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica.PHOTO: SINGTEL

Cisco and Temasek invest in local VC firm

Singapore venture capital firm Monk's Hill Ventures has scored two major coups for its US$80 million (S$113.6 million) fund for investing in start-ups.

It has netted Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings and networking giant Cisco's venture arm Cisco Investments as investors.

A media statement yesterday said that Cisco Investments will invest US$10 million in the fund.

Monk's Hill managing director Lim Kuo-Yi confirmed that Temasek is also an investor, but declined to disclose the sum.

This announcement comes about two months after Monk's Hill raised an undisclosed sum from YJ Capital, the corporate venture arm of Yahoo Japan.

The Monk's Hill fund, which will close soon, will be used to fund start-ups in big data and analytics, Internet of Everything and mobility and enterprise solutions.

Founded last year, the VC firm is helmed by veteran entrepreneur Ong Peng Tsin and Mr Lim.

Mr Pratik Bose, Cisco's director for corporate development in Asia-Pacific and Japan, said Cisco Investments' first investment in a VC firm in Asean aims to nurture start-ups.

He added that the investment is aligned with its strategy to fuel innovation by investing in VC funds which support the transformation of local economies and industries.

In addition to the funding, Cisco will also share its technology and marketing know-how with Monk's Hill portfolio companies.

Cisco Investments has an active portfolio of US$2 billion with nearly 100 direct investments. It has also invested directly in 35 funds globally.

Mr Lim said in the statement: "The concept of our fund is simple: entrepreneurs backing entrepreneurs.

"Our goal is not to just invest in companies but also to build the overall start-up ecosystem to help accelerate growth across the region."

Singtel, 3 global telcos join hands on start-ups

Singtel and three leading global telcos, spread across four continents, will team up to help their respective start-ups expand into each other's markets.

The start-up innovation arms of Singtel (Singtel Innov8), Orange (Orange Fab), Deutsche Telekom (hub:raum) and Telefonica (Telefonica Open Future) inked a memorandum of understanding yesterday.

The idea is to bridge the start-up scenes across South-east Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

The partnership aims to support the growth of start-ups and help them expand beyond their markets.

A Singtel statement yesterday said the partnership will let start-ups tap into the telcos' resources such as market insights as well as offering access to the four telcos' business partners.

Innov8 chief executive Edgar Hardless said: "More start-ups harbour aspirations to venture beyond their own markets and go global. Through our deep connections in South-east Asia, we can help open doors for African, European, Middle Eastern and Latin American start-ups to the region."

Similarly, Innov8 portfolio companies would be able to use this partnership to expand to other markets, he said.

Ms Nathalie Boulanger, Orange start-up ecosystem director, said the firm sees global partnerships such as this as the critical next step to ensuring that digital innovators continue to flourish.

"With our collective and complementary footprints spanning four continents, we can provide start-ups with access to new markets, thereby enabling them to accelerate their growth further."

EDBI leads funding for big data start-up

Big data start-up Paxata has raised US$18 million (S$25.6 million) led by EDBI, the venture arm of the Economic Development Board.

This round also included existing investors such as venture capital firms Accel Partners India, Walden-Riverwood Ventures and Toba Capital.

Founded in 2012, the Silicon Valley-based start-up helps companies prepare the huge amount of data collected into business intelligence.

The start-up will use the funds to further expand research and development and expand sales and marketing efforts.

EDBI chief executive Chu Swee Yeok said Singapore's strong infocomm infrastructure and talent make for an ideal base from which Paxata can expand into the region.

EDBI will help Paxata connect with partners and potential customers in Asia, she added.

Grace Chng

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline 'StartSingapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe