Helsinki (Finland) headquartered startup investor company, Frontier has started its Singapore operations to bridge the tech startup gap between Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) and Southeast Asia.
Mikko Silventola, Chairman and Partner, Frontier told e27, “We are building the bridge between Southeast Asia and the Nordics to find lots of synergies and more talent. Our tech clients and portfolio companies from Nordic countries – we have offices in Helsinki and Stockholm – are looking to set up business and companies in Singapore and to find first major clients from here instead of US. We want our portfolio companies to build up the business in Asia instead of US.”
The investment company has a presence in Middle East too, where the focus too is on tech clients but more on the traditional – services side. In Southeast Asia, the company is looking to invest early seed and anything in the range of US$25,000 to US$250,000 in tech startups in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand. It aims for a “three- to five-year exit.”
Besides the Nordic states, Frontier can also help Singaporean companies expand to Middle East and Russia.
Silventola stated that Asia will be the place to be for the next century growth and the money in the world is shifting to Asia. According to him, Nordic and Southeast Asian startups have a lot in common. “There is a lot of good buzz and hype about both regions. But both areas need more success cases as compared to the US. That will encourage more entrepreneurs to start up new businesses. Success stories are the main motivators for new young entrepreneurs to stop talking and start doing,” he said.
He feels the Singapore government is “very generous” to startup companies and will continue to invest into the startup landscape. These efforts will bring the first major success stories to Singapore startup scene and “hopefully, very soon”. In Finland, the governmental organisation, Tekes, has been a major help for successfully exited Finnish companies.
Finland has already seen few success stories such as Supercell (sold to SoftBank with US$3 billion valuation) and Rovio (the creator of Angry Birds). Recently, Nervogrid (funded by Tekes) too was sold to ALSO Holding. Nervogrid was owned by two partners of Frontier.
Frontier, currently, has a five-member team in Singapore and looking to scale up the count. It is also scouting for a Country Manager in Shanghai (China) too. “Step by step, we want to expand to other Chinese markets via Shanghai and Hong Kong,” he added.
Silventola, who would be personally based in Singapore, besides being the Chairman of the Board and Partner of Frontier, is the Founder and Chairman of Calcus Group and TAEL Group. He has also operated in the private equity sector and has worked with a number of investments including Transfluent, Taxify, FundedByMe, Tribe Studios, Liilak, Smarp, Sendoc and Bookiwoo.