Innovation enabler Marvelstone Ventures to focus on smart city tech

Visual of Marvelstone homepage. February 2016

Marvelstone Group has launched Marvelstone Ventures, an innovation enabler (i..e venture builder) and venture capital (VC) unit that will work with startup ventures and technology companies in targeting and developing what it terms ‘Smart City’ technologies.

Meant as a platform to “execute high impact technologies that will propel emerging Asian cities into world-class cities”, it will be led by Joel Ko, Managing Partner of Marvelstone Group, in the role of chief executive. This new venture builder will target investments in smart city technologies, with a concentration on technologies like the blockchain, IOT, artificial intelligence and fintech.

Speaking on the matter, Gina Heng, co-founder and CEO of Marvelstone Group, says: “Singapore has the potential to be the world’s smartest city and we wish to see that happen 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.”

Ko is also the co-founder of Marvelstone Group’s key projects and initiatives like Lattice80 – the largest fintech co-working space globally – Marvelstone Tech and 10K. He is still actively involved in key projects of Marvelstone Group. Marvelstone Group’s investment strategy is largely focused on growth relating to the following sectors: finance, technology, real estate, infrastructure, energy and media.

Marvelstone Ventures is newly launched and no investments have been made through Marvelstone Ventures so far. Key partners Ko and Heng committed S$20m to start the project. Prior investments in AsiaMX, Tech In Asia and Lattice 80 were through the Marvelstone Group. Marvelstone Venture’s long-term plan, in the next two to three years, is to set up a fund worth from US$50 to US$100 million.”

With future growth prospects in mind, the company is investing in forward-looking initiatives aligned with elements necessary to survive in a fluid operating terrain.  The establishment of of Marvelstone Ventures also reflects the rise of company builders elsewhere, which sees entrepreneurs who’ve achieved exits leveraging on their expertise and experience in growing highly volatile businesses to an exit event.

Globally, with the venture building movement impacting the startup space, this latest initiative will see the new startup studio tap on shared resources – connections, global teams and funds – to launch companies offering innovative solutions.

Speaking on its partnership scheme, Ko says, “We are open to all kinds of opportunities to work with investors, related partners and institutions in public and private sectors across Asia. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing the adoption of high-end innovation in emerging markets before spreading to the developed market.”

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