[A previous version of this article stated that Protégé Ventures is a VC fund. It would be more accurate to describe it as a student venture fund.]
New Singapore-based venture fund Protégé Ventures has two distinct characteristics: it is run by students and only invests in startups with at least one student co-founder.
Claiming to be Southeast Asia’s first student venture fund, Protégé Ventures was launched by the Singapore Management University (SMU) in partnership with Kairos ASEAN, the Southeast Asian chapter of global entrepreneurial community Kairos.
It is sponsored by four Singapore-based VC firms – Wavemaker Partners, Venturecraft, Marvelstone Group and TSR Partners.
The fund aims to nurture Singapore-based university students to become effective tech VCs. Mentors and experienced industry VCs will impart them to the essential knowledge and skill sets required to understand and navigate the tech ecosystem.
By the end of their stint, the student VCs should be able to “to source for student ventures, conduct due diligence, pitch to the investment committee and contribute to actual investment decisions by prestigious VCs,” according to an official press release.
The student VCs will also be able to participate in Kairos ASEAN activities. These include monthly dinners with Kairos mentors, members and industry leaders, Kairos 360 Business Mission (K360) and access to industry events and regional conferences.
The student startups selected by Protégé Ventures will receive a S$20,000 (US$14,470) convertible note investment each. They will also receive post-investment support from SMU.
Applications for the first intake of students VCs is now open and the programme will commence in Q4 2017.
Applicants will need to be studying in any Singapore-based university, and be able to commit to attending the training programme and 1 year of relevant activities in Singapore.
The student startups need to be based in the ASEAN region to be eligible. They can apply for funding through the Protégé Ventures website.