Protégé Ventures (PV), a student-run venture fund programme established by the Singapore Management University Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SMU IIE), has launched the Marina & David Su Protégé Ventures Fund II.
This $500,000 sector-agnostic fund is a milestone in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in tertiary institutions in Singapore, and will permit more investment in early-stage technology start-ups founded by students or recent graduates of Singapore’s polytechnics and universities which are seeking their pre-seed to seed funding.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (second right) with (from the left) Protege Ventures managing partners Sherwin Ng and Anaanya Bijay; SMU’s VP of partnerships Lim Sun Sun; and Matrix Partners China founding MP David Su.
PHOTO: SMU INSTITUTE OF INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
The PV fund programme was formed in 2017 to facilitate connections between university innovations and venture capital funding, and to foster collaboration among students across different tertiary institutions.
PV also extends an opportunity for students to gain practical insights into the complex venture investment landscape, nurturing the next generation of tech and entrepreneurial leaders.
The launch of the fund was witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, Mr Heng Swee Keat, at the opening ceremony of the Finals Week of the 11th Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), a biennial university start-up challenge organised by SMU IIE. PV’s strong track record since 2017 makes it a credible channel for investing in student start-ups.
The success of the 10th LKYGBPC held in 2021 spurred three faculty members from SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business to write a practitioner’s book in collaboration with SMU IIE. T
he book captures the inspiring founder stories of nine finalists as well as their entrepreneurial business models. Titled “Pioneering A Smart, Sustainable, and Resilient Future: Founder Stories and Business Models”, the book offers new business strategies for the digital age, shares real-life case studies from innovative digital start-ups, and outlines applicable technologies for sustainable urban innovations.
Singapore has been an attractive hub for international start-ups. It is home to nearly 4,800 tech start-ups, 252 incubators and accelerators, 529 investors, and 700 family offices. According to the Global Start-up Ecosystem Report (GSER) 2023, the city-state rose ten places in the ranking from #18 to #8 in the GSER 2022 and is the second-highest ranked Asian ecosystem after Beijing.
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