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.

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Special Review - CHEYENNE HOL­LIS

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.”


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