SIX venture capital funds have been picked to receive funding that will go into powering startups that can perform on the local and international stage, the National Research Foundation (NRF) announced yesterday.
Under this round of the Early-Stage Venture Fund (ESVF) programme, the NRF will invest $10 million in each of the six funds on a matching basis, thus capitalising $120 million for early-stage investment in Singapore-based businesses - specifically high-tech ones.
The NRF will take a corresponding equity stake.
The selected funds are Jungle Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, SBI Ven Capital, Walden International, New Asia Investments and Monk's Hill Ventures.
Two of these venture funds - New Asia Investments and Walden International - are repeat recipients of ESVF funding. They were among the venture funds selected for the first round of this seed-fund programme in 2008; some of the start-ups they invested in are already becoming successful.
New Asia Investments invested in the likes of medical devices firm BioMers, and optical-sensor technology firm Microlight Sensors.
Walden International threw its support behind, for example, restaurant-review portal HungryGoWhere and indoor positioning company YFind.
For this second round of the ESVF programme, the call for proposals late last year attracted 32 proposals; 18 were shortlisted.
An eight-member panel comprising public- and private-sector representatives appointed by the NRF picked the six venture capital funds that will get the funding this time around.
Steve Leonard, executive deputy chairman of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and chairman of the panel, said the six were picked for their connections both inside and outside Singapore so that they can nurture startups that can make a splash both at home and globally.
He said: "The most important thing is: 'Can we build companies that can compete on a world stage? Our goal is not to build companies that are serving only a (Singaporean) need, but in fact a need that's important to many people round the world and also to Singapore."
Under the maiden round of the ESVF in 2008, five venture capital funds were selected. The NRF put in a total of $50 million, of which a collective $38 million has been invested by the five so far, with the money going into 24 startups from various technology sectors.