Former CPPIB chief Mark Machin joins Singapore VC Serendipity Capital

Mark Machin, the former head of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), is joining Singapore-based venture capital firm Serendipity Capital as its non-executive director, according to a statement by the venture firm.

The development was first reported by The Financial Times on Monday.

Machin had spent the last nine years at CPPIB, of which the last five were as president and CEO. During his tenure, he grew the pension fund’s assets to nearly $500 billion as of March 31, 2021, generating returns of over 11% per annum.

He joined CPPIB in 2012 as senior managing director and head of international based in Hong Kong. Prior to the pension fund, Machin spent 20 years at Goldman Sachs at its London and Hong Kong offices with the Asian investment banking team.

Serendipity Capital is a newly-formed venture capital firm focused on investing in disruptive trends in financial services, technology, and climate change. These cover areas such as artificial intelligence, decentralised finance (DeFi), and quantum computing.

The Singapore-based firm has also launched an Asia-focused special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), having filed with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) last month to raise $250 million for the entity.

Serendipity Capital lists a total of five portfolio companies on its website: Cambridge Quantum Computing, Deep Labs, EFM Asset Management, Pollination, and TymeGlobal. It aims to invest in roughly 10 companies and claims to have secured an internal rate of return (IRR) of 29.3% since its inception in 2020.

“Mark and I have got to know each other over the last few years. I have enjoyed and benefited from our conversations on global markets and the future of finance. I am delighted that Mark has agreed to join the board of Serendipity Capital,” Rob Jesudason, CEO and founding partner of Serendipity Capital, said in a post on the VC firm’s website.

Mark Machin commented: “I am excited to join the board of Serendipity Capital. Their focus on leading-edge technologies, innovation, and finance is fascinating and I have found Rob to be one of the most thoughtful investors in these areas. I am looking forward to collaborating with him and the Serendipity team.”

According to the Financial Times report, this is Machin’s first post-CPPIB position after flying to the United Arab Emirates to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, flouting Canada’s travel advice. The trip in February was reportedly made in his personal capacity and stirred strong national opposition, including condemnation from the Canadian finance minister Christia Freeland.

Machin resigned from CPPIB in late February shortly after the trip.

“All journeys must come to an end. It has been said that it is better to travel well than to arrive. And we have travelled well,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post on his departure last week.

The pension fund has named senior managing director and global head of credit investments John Graham as its new CEO.

Machin joins Serependity Capital with effect from August 1 this year.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.