These 3 Singaporean Single Family Offices Invest in Venture Capital

list of largest single family offices asia singapore venture capital

Singapore is an island and city state and the smallest state in Southeast Asia. It is one of the richest countries (and cities) in the world and counts to the cities with the highest cost of living worldwide. Together with Hong Kong, the state is considered the most important financial center in Asia. Singapore’s low taxes and other incentives for foreign investors qualify it as a tax haven. Resident taxpayers pay a progressive tax on personal income, with a top marginal rate of only 22%. As of the 2019 tax year, the highest tax bracket was defined as incomes above $320,000 U.S. dollars. In addition, it does not tax capital gains and offers tax exemptions for qualifying foreign banks, offshore funds, and global trading companies. That kind of policy, and a location that makes it a gateway for companies hoping to expand into the emerging Asian economies, have made this island city-state a global hub for international investment and commerce. In sum, Singapore provides perfect conditions for single family offices, the private investment firms of the most wealthiest individuals. The research team of familyofficehub recently created a database of the largest single family offices in Asia that, of course, includes Singapore. If you’re interested only in Singaporean family offices you should definitely check out our database of the largest single family offices in Singapore. This article will focus on three single family offices, that have headquarters in Singapore and invest mainly in venture capital. It is no secret that Singapore originates hundreds and thousands of new startups as a result of their government policies. This makes the venture capital landscape in Singapore densely populated. Singapore is popular for being one of the largest tech hubs in Southeast Asia in terms of venture capital investments. According to a study by dealroom.co, venture capital investments have increased sevenfold and only all the fintech startups together already have a combined value of around $108 billion.

The mentioned family offices are all part of our list of the largest single family offices in Singapore

  • 45 entries, thereof 30 with E-Mail address, 42 with executive names
  • Investment focus: Real Estate, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Financial Products, Renewables
  • 23 columns included: Name, Family Name, Estimated Family Wealth, Detailed Investment Focus and exemplary investments, address, phone, e-mail, website…
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#1: Verlinvest Asia

Verlinvest Asia is the personal single family office of Frédéric de Mevius. The de Mevius family controls, together with the Vandamme and Spoelberch families, the Belgian ABInBev group. The company is, measured by sales volume, the largest brewery group in the world and employs more than 170,000 people with 630 brands based in 150 different countries. Global beer production in 2019 was 561 million hectoliters. Prior to Frédéric’s industrial activities he had an investment banking career in London and New York. From 1985 until 1993 he was a Lehman Brothers in New York and London as an Executive Director and between 1981 and 1985 at S. G. Warburg & Co Ltd in London where he held the position of Manager in the International Division. Frédéric holds a BA in Finance and Economics from the University of Louvain-la Neuve. Verlinvest Asia puts a strong focus on venture capital investments in the digital & e-commerce, food & beverage, retail & hospitality, education and healthcare sectors. One exemplary investment of the Asia portfolio is Purplle, an online store selling cosmetics, fragrances, skin, and hair care products. Another portfolio company is Veeba Foods which is engaged in manufacturing and marketing sauces, emulsions, toppings, syrups, etc. and has a strong national distribution network covering most parts of the Indian Landscape.

#2: Enspire Capital

Enspire Capital was founded by Chay Kwong Soon in 1997 and fulfills all his wealth and investment related needs. Most of his fortune comes from co-founding Creative Technology Limited together with Sim Wong Hoo in 1981. The company got successful through the development of modern sound cards, although the product range has recently become increasingly diversified. Today, loudspeakers, MP3 players, webcams and other accessories are also produced. During his time at Creative, Chay Kwong Soon led the effort in building up Creative’s marketing organization in Asia, Europe and Latin America, and manufacturing operations in Singapore, Malaysia, United States and Ireland. During his tenure between 1988 and 1996, Creative’s sales grew from $5 million to $1.2 billion. During that time Chay got in touch with many different startups which laid the foundation for Enspire Capital. The single family office focuses on venture capital and private equity transactions in the technology, media telecommunication, internet, mobile and software sectors and invests directly or via funds. Exemplary direct venture capital investments include The Bouqs and FiscalNote. The Bouqs is a cut-to-order online flower delivery company that offers simple shopping and superior customer service experience. It delivers high-quality, farm-direct, eco-friendly flower stems. FiscalNote uses artificial intelligence to deliver immediate predictive analytics of governmental action to pinpoint impact. Its platform provides real time legislative predictive capabilities as well as enterprise collaboration and visualization tools for data on campaign finance, demographics, news and open data to government relations professionals to help them make faster decisions.

#3: Apricot Capital

Apricot Capital serves as the personal investment company of Singapore’s so named “instant coffee king” David Teo. In the late 80s, the clothing store of Teo’s wife had just failed so that the two were thinking about new business ideas. He got the idea that busy Singaporeans might want an easier and faster way to get their caffeine kick. Soon, his wife and two of her siblings were set up in a 2,000-square-foot instant-coffee packaging operation – the Super Group was incorporated. On the side, he also had a business running in supplying plates for printing presses. In the second year, sales of the instant coffee company nearly reached $3 million. Immediately, Teo began to export to Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar. Today Super is the second-biggest seller of instant coffee in Singapore and the number one seller in Myanmar, which is the company’s second-largest market. It also ranks near the top in several other Southeast Asian markets, though Swiss food-and-beverage giant Nestlé, which began selling rivalling products in the 90s, is the region’s leading brand by far. David Teo sold the Super Group successfully for $1.45 billion which laid the cornerstone for the founding of Apricot Capital. The family office actively invests in real estate, venture capital, private equity and funds. When looking for new venture capital investments, firms active in consumer, food & beverages, education and software are targeted. The portfolio includes, for example, Geniebook. The firm provides an online, assessment-led learning tool that provides a powerful way to sharpen academic performance of the customers using artificial intelligence. Another example is Popsical, which offers a cloud based karaoke system. It makes use of a licensed cloud-based streaming system to come up with a library of songs, which is updated daily in multiple languages.

Picture source: Guo Xin Goh

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