SINGAPORE — Vulcan Capital, the investment house of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has opened its first international office in Singapore. The multi-billion dollar fund intends to invest an initial $100 million across Southeast Asian startups, making it one of the largest early-stage platforms in the region.
The firm has hired financiers Tommy Teo and Minjie Yu as managing directors to lead the Singapore outfit. They will focus on seed, Series A, and Series B investments in a broad range of areas including financial services, real estate technology and consumer internet, according to Teo. Their initial target markets will be Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Investors like Vulcan will help build the ecosystem in the region, said Wilton Chau, who teaches entrepreneurship. “International VCs will have the network, the expertise and the knowledge of different markets and they will be more attractive to ventures here,” he said.
Vulcan Capital takes an unusual approach to investing. Like any venture capital firm, it will aim to maximize returns from its investments. But the returns from those investments will go directly into Vulcan’s broad range of philanthropic projects, including climate change and wildlife conservation in Africa. The company is hoping its model will help attract young and mission-driven startup founders in the region.