Singapore: TNB Aura Fund 1 reaches first close, targets hard cap of $22.5m

Photo: TNB Ventures' Facebook page

Singapore’s TNB Ventures and Australia-based fund manager Aura Group have achieved the first close of their joint TNB Aura Fund 1, which has a hard cap of S$30 million ($22.5 million) as its target deployable capital pool.

The fund is managed by Vicknesh R Pillay and Charles Wong, Head of Asia for Aura Group. Its mandate spans investments in embedded devices (e.g. Robotics & IOT), software & deep learning (e.g. Big Data & AI) and visualisation technologies (e.g. Mobile & AR/VR).

In an email exchange by this portal with Hazel Yeo, the Head of Business Development for TNB Ventures, she disclosed that the funds’ limited partners (LPs) include “a mix of institutional investors and UNHW individuals, all of whom provide strategic value to our portfolio companies”, with the fund having preference for “B2B companies that can provide complementary value to each other even if it’s across industry verticals.”

She said, “Our investment thesis is focused on IoT/IIoT, Robotics, Big Data, AI, AR/VR,”, adding, “TNB Aura Fund 1 provides go-to-market support and opportunities through our extensive corporate partner network (we run several corporate innovation programs with Ascendas, Magna, CrimsonLogic, Maritime Port of Authority, Asian Development Bank) within the broad theme of Smart City, which is very synergistic to the frontier technologies focus of our fund.”

She added that the fund would also enable its founder to “access mentors with solid business acumen and successful entrepreneurial experience,” with the preferred approach to an exit for the fund being an M&A transaction or a public listing, which the fund has experience with on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

In terms of the markets the fund is targeting, research by BCG indicates that the IOT market is forecast to see significant growth in revenue across all layers of the technology stack, with B2B spending on IOT technologies, apps and solutions set to grow to $267 billion by 2020.

Meanwhile, boutique AR/VR consulting and M&A firm Digi-Capital predicts that the AR/VR sector will become a two-speed market, with mobile AR set to have over twice the installed base at launch in 2017 than the entire AR/VR headset market by 2021.

TNB Ventures is an appointed co-investment partner of SPRING SEEDS Capital (SSC), the investment arm of SPRING Singapore. TNB Aura Fund 1 is one of five funds approved under the Singapore government’s AME co-investment scheme with SPRING SEEDS Capital providing matching funding for select deals.

Under the terms of this partnership, TNB and SPRING SEEDS Capital jointly invest in and incubate early-stage IoT, advanced manufacturing and engineering startups in Singapore by matching dollar for dollar, with a maximum joint investment quantum of up to S$4 million ($2.99 million) per venture.

According to its website, the fund invests up to S$3 million ($2.24 million) into startups at seed and Series A stages.

One of its recent transactions involved an investment into an undisclosed e-commerce and logistics startup in Vietnam in a Series A funding round although TNB Ventures has declined to identify the firm to date.

Also Read:

Aura Group launches venture capital fund, to invest 20% outside Australia

Australia: Different raises $987k seed round; IPS secures $2.27m from Aura Venture Fund

Exclusive: TNB Ventures strikes 1st deal in Vietnam, co-invests 8-digit sum in e-commerce startup

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.