A Different Approach to Funding
Mr William Klippgen, Managing Partner Cocoon Capital, recalled his first foray into Singapore investment during the Norway-Asia Business Summit 2018.
It involved what he described as an ATM that dispensed DVDs. “This was a bad launch at the wrong time. It came out around the time startups started mailing movies directly to consumers.
This meant you didn’t need to leave home to get a DVD,” he details. “Additionally, we found out that people in Singapore did not watch movies during the week. It did not go well for our machine which is now in storage somewhere.”
Luckily for Mr Klippgen, that would not be an indication of his future success in Singapore. As part of his family investment company, Tigris Capital, he has invested in 25 startups in Singapore since 2004. The firm’s portfolio includes some major names including property portal PropertyGuru, and Tickled Media, a parenting content community.
In 2016, Mr Klippgen teamed up with Mr Michael Blakey to form Cocoon Capital, a seed and pre-series A investment-focused venture capital firm. Cocoon Capital has a clear vision focused on B2B-oriented startups that have a viable idea or concept in place that needs to be fine tuned.
“We’re looking more at global-facing businesses and startups with software-as-a-service, FinTech and deep tech among the verticals we feel comfortable with,” Mr Klippgen notes. “We’re typically investing in groundbreaking, totally new ideas that have a global reach. We also consider companies that repeat what has happened before in Europe but modify to suit another region.”
Cocoon Capital selects only five companies per year to ensure sufficient capacity for its partners. Additionally, the firm has a wide-reaching network of partners to assist the companies they select. The exclusivity and support are among the reasons the firm currently boasts a success rate of more than 75 percent for its Asian portfolio.
As for the future, Mr Klippgen is confident Singapore will remain a hub for startups and innovation. This will provide businesses based in the city state a chance to succeed both regionally and globally.
“What I’m more excited about is the global idea. We take advantage of the fact that Singapore understands the future is about talent and ideas, not land and capital,” Mr Klippgen says. “This will define wealth generation in the future and Singapore is a really good example of how it’s possible. We are investing in global ideas out of Singapore.”