This Online Startup Tool Is Helping Singapore's Entrepreneurs Find Funding
Ask any startup in Southeast Asia — if they’re looking to raise funds, they’ve likely been flying in and out of Singapore. The “little red dot,” which is often praised for its friendly business environment and global connectivity, is home to some of the region’s biggest tech venture capital firms. And learning how to navigate the scene and knowing which fund is the best fit for your startup can give you an undeniable leg up.
Photo Credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Which is why two Singapore-based ecosystem builders Arnaud Bonzom and Florian Cornu, who have been long-time collaborators on a number of open data projects for Southeast Asia, have created Map of the Money 4.0. It’s a new tool for entrepreneurs and startups to get the lay of the land in Singapore’s venture community and also figure out how best to raise money.
“We believe that while most information about VC firms is available, it takes a lot of time to collect it and entrepreneurs should be spending time building their company instead of compiling a list of active VCs. By building and sharing this map, we want to help founders save time and also help less well-known funds get the word out,” Bonzom said in a conversation we had last week.
Photo: Screenshot from the ‘Map of Money 4.0′
The tool features details from the last 12 months on about 65 venture funds that altogether have more than $4 billion assets under management. How it works is users can learn more about potential investors by tapping into data such as the size of the fund, minimum to maximum investment size, the number of known investments that the VC has made, the names of venture partners and its portfolio companies — which is an indicator into the types of startups that the firm typically backs.
The inspiration for the tool dates back to 2009, where the original Map of the Money was debuted by Meng Weng Wong, the co-founder of JFDI, Singapore’s first tech accelerator. To give an idea of how fast the Singapore ecosystem has grown, this was during the time before unicorns Lazada and Grab arrived on the scene and when gaming platform mammoth Garena had just launched. The map saw updates in 2012 and 2014 as the Singapore startup ecosystem grew, which is why the torch had been passed on for a 2016 update.
Photo: Screenshot from the ‘Data’ sheet of ‘Map of Money 4.0′
Based on research done for Map of Money, Singapore’s tech startup scene has evolved over the years thanks to significant changes to the venture community. For starters, Silicon Valley VC shop 500 Startups entered Southeast Asia in 2013 and wasted no time setting up a number of micro funds for Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
A sign of an ecosystem maturing is when seed VCs graduate to the Series A level, and this was seen in Golden Gate Ventures, Jungle Ventures and RakutenVentures starting at $10 million and now closing funds at the size of between $50 million to $100 million. A need for an investor at the Series B stage has also sprouted up, as B Capital Group arrived in Singapore — led by FacebookFB +0.38% co-founder and billionaire Eduardo Saverin.
Map of Money 4.0 is just the latest version of the tool, and Bonzom said that they’ve already started working on the next update.