SWOT Analysis of SoftBank, the company with $100 Billion+ Investments in 20 Unicorns by 2020

There are plenty of concerns too. Several VCs feel their move to larger deals leaves the important seed stage under-capitalised. VCs themselves face accusations of following the money. In this case, higher income from management fees after raising larger funds.

Startup exits—events during which investors recoup their funds—are few and far between currently, which does not bode well for VC firms. And definitely none that reach Silicon Valley standards. However, a report by Golden Gate and global graduate business school INSEAD estimated that there would be at least 700 startup exits in the region between 2023 and 2025. In the absence of a crystal ball, only time will tell if that’s a realistic projection.

There are certainly more companies than ever. Jungle Ventures’ Anand said the firm now sees as many as 3,000 startups in contention for funding. The number might be subjective, but that’s a lot more than its 2012 estimate—250. That’s one reason VCs are now able to raise from limited partners (LPs) across the world, including from US pension funds and university endowments, which have traditionally focused on more conservative western markets.

Starting out

Starting out

That conservative western market is what gave Lauria his venture capital experience in the first place—when he tried to raise funds for Lefora, a forum startup he founded with Bragiel in the US.

“I had never heard of the term ‘family office’ at that time and I didn’t know how to pitch to them. I didn’t even know that VCs could get money from universities’ endowment funds. Management fees, equity ownership, [that] basic stuff was all new to me,” he told us in an interview.

Lefora’s sale—and that Silicon Valley experience—was enough to give him a head start in Singapore, even though the exit was not a major one. He quickly picked up new processes, with a VC giving him a crash course in investor concepts that are now basic to him today.

What if Mosaic Ventures Only Had $2 M to Spend Throughout These 10 Hot Startups?

Golden Gate eventually raised a small fund from ex-colleagues and friends in the US, and some existing angel investors in Singapore. But its most important boost came from an unlikely source: the Singaporean government.

Golden Gate was one of several beneficiaries of an early stage venture funding scheme (ESVF) that offered financial incentives designed to bring investors—and thus investment capital—to Singapore. The scheme was unanimously seen as a key step that advanced the nascent VC ecosystem and bringing in capital from overseas LPs.

Under this, the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore provided up to $7.35 million to VC funds that invested in local tech startups—$5 for every $1 raised. To sweeten the deal, VCs got the option to buy out NRF’s share in five years’ time when fund managers returned the capital with interest. Southeast Asia-focused tech funds like Jungle Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, Wavemaker Partners and Monk’s Hill Ventures all participated.

“The government giving a stamp made it easier for us [to raise money] as I didn’t have that sort of brand in Singapore,” Lauria recalled. “Without the government’s support, we probably wouldn’t be where we are today,” echoed Paul Santos from Wavemaker Partners.