Norwegian technology founder and investor William Klippgen, who lives in Singapore, and British angel investor Michael Blakey has set up a Singapore-based fund of $ 22 million – equivalent to NOK 190 million. A number of other Norwegian investors, including former Lazada president Stein Jakob Øie, McKinsey’s Asia chief Oliver Tonby and Creandum partner Martin Hauge, have joined the new Cocoon Capital seed money fund, which is now filled up.
The money will mainly be invested in B2B companies “in fintech, medtech and insurtech ” in Southeast Asia.
“Many entrepreneurs here lack support networks similar to those in Silicon Valley, London or Shanghai , and we’re here to change that,” says William Klipgen, Cocoon’s Managing Partner.
The fund is one piece in an ever-increasing Norwegian presence in the region. Recently, the website Shifter.com wrote about another Singapore fund, AV Growth, which has raised NOK 430 million to entice Norwegian companies to change courses from west to south-east as they seek new markets to grow in the region.
Cocoon also has an agreement with Singapore’s state investment arm, SG Innovate. According to the agreement, SG Innovate will match up to 70 percent of the Cocoon fund’s investments.
“Singapore is a fantastic place for startups and I think the importance of the country will only increase over the next 20 years. They have developed a strong ecosystem for entrepreneurs since the 2000s and are now bearing the fruits of this,” says Klippgen.
He points to good access to capital, strong IP protection, a pro-active government that “actively supports startups” and a short distance to the rest of Asia as convincing arguments.
Antler is among the Norwegian companies benefiting from this, but far more Norwegian startups should familiarize themselves with the opportunities that exist by looking eastwards, Klippgen believes.
“Norwegian tech startups are often more advanced and have more experienced entrepreneurs than is the case here in Southeast Asia, and that is a huge advantage,” he says to Shifter, adding:
“What the Norwegian founders can do better is to dare to take more risk and to go to Asia and the rest of the world earlier.”