Marvelstone Group, the Singapore-headquartered investment group that specialises in fintech, has announced the launch of a new venture-building arm with S$20 million (US$14 million) in resources from the partners to build Asia-focussed Smart City technologies.
Named Marvelstone Ventures, the new initiative will be led by Joel Ko, currently the Managing Director of Marvelstone Group (he will still remain active in other projects within the group).
Ko is the Co-founder of Lattice80, Marvelstone’s fintech hub located in Singapore’s Central Business District — the hub is the world’s largest of its kind.
“The goal of [Marvelstone Ventures] is to get involved in paradigm shifting technology-sectors like blockchain and IoT because, until now, those technologies are led by developed countries like the US and Europe. So my desire is to set up an innovation hub based in Asia,” Ko told e27.
He said that the long-term plan, in the next two to three years, is to set up a fund worth from US$50 to US$100 million.
The venture-builder strategy is a business model in which firms with resources build companies from scratch in their own style (instead of investing in external startups that would be further along the entrepreneurial journey).
The reason Marvelstone is pursuing venture-building is, according to a statement from the company, successful venture builders tap into a network of partners to eventually create fully-operational companies. This roadmap will eventually help Marvelstone Ventures, “move from being a catalyst to drive and lead innovation”.
While Marvelstone said the venture arm will focus on all of Asia, Gina Heng, the Co-founder and CEO of Marvelstone Group, said she hopes the company can help Singapore become the world’s smartest city “before the turn of the next decade”.
“Marvelstone Ventures will support the city-state’s vision by investing in paradigm-shifting technology, Smart City-related projects and companies with high growth potential. We want these companies to successfully turn emerging markets around the Asian region into game-changers,” she said.
Marvelstone Group was born in Hong Kong, but in 2016 the company focussed, and largely succeeded, on building a strong presence in Singapore. The city-state is now the company’s headquarters for operations.
Besides Lattice80 and Marvelstone Ventures, other projects from the group include Marvelstone Tech (a platform to facilitate fintech opportunities) and 10k, an accelerator-incubator program with the ambitious goals of accelerating 100 startups in 100 places across Asia (100 x 100 is 10,000 — thus, the name).
Edit: The original version of this article stated Marvelstone Group was born in South Korea. It was actually founded in Hong Kong.
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