Media Release




Singaporean agreement brings Transform Peel a step closer

Close up interview with our CEO on Straits Times Me&MyMoney - 2 July 2017

SUTD Partners with Six Venture Capitalists to Nurture Startups




Singaporean agreement brings Transform Peel a step closer



Mandurah, Monday 19th February…An agri-innovation precinct within the Transform Peel program is closer to becoming a reality after a significant Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was executed between Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food, Fund Singapore, Murdoch University and the Peel Development Commission.

Chair of the Peel Development Commission, Paddi Creevey, said the MOU paved the way to building a trilateral relationship where the partners would co-operate on an established strategic framework.

“We and our partners recognise that co-operation in ag-technology development, intensive food production and innovative start-up enterprises between Singapore and Western Australia will contribute to Singapore’s food security and to the Peel and Western Australia’s economic competitiveness and adoption of innovation. An agri-innovation precinct is, we believe, an essential element of the Peel Business Park within Transform Peel,” she said.

Dr Christopher Vas, Director of Murdoch University’s Singapore Centre for Research in Innovation, Productivity and Technology (SCRIPT) said the tripartite effort would further strengthen mutually beneficial trade, science and innovation ties between the two countries.


“Murdoch University enjoys a privileged position in Singapore and through SCRIPT we are involved across industry research and engagement activities and we will help to connect food producers in Peel with innovators and funders in Singapore.”

“The collaboration with Fund Singapore as a potential strategic investment partner is great news for Peel food producers. It will help them to access opportunities for expansion, value-added processing and importantly market access in Asia,” he said.

“Startups that enable ag-tech activities within and beyond the farm gate will also be sought to participate in this collaboration especially where food provenance, traceability, safety and security are concerned.” 

Lester Chan, CEO of Fund Singapore, said the company shared the vision of the Peel Business Park and what the Transform Peel program represents to both Western Australia and Singapore.

“Fund Singapore has recently invested a significant amount in one of Western Australia’s high value agri-producers and entered into a joint venture with Murdoch University to invest in its education-technology startup. This signals a strong interest in the innovations and potential in this region. We believe strongly in the future of ag-tech innovation and that Peel and Murdoch can be strong partners for us to achieve a very productive future,” he said.

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Close up interview with our CEO on Straits Times Me&MyMoney - 2 July 2017

Source :

Learning about different asset classes as he watched his father invest not only fascinated Mr Lester Chan as a child, but ultimately shaped his career.

Mr Chan, chief executive of Fund Singapore, an equity and lending-based securities crowdfunding firm, says: "I decided if I wanted to be a good investor, I needed more than just luck or trying to time the market. Knowledge and experience was essential so I joined the banking sector after graduation."

Even though Mr Chan, 37, studied mechanical engineering, business and investing was always on his mind, leading him to minor in technopreneurship.

Despite being a top performer in banking, he left the finance sector in 2008 and set up investment and consulting firm BeaconRock Group - now known as BeaconRock Investments - a year later. He put in about $500,000 from his own savings for the capital.

He, later, took up a scholarship to pursue an MBA from Singapore Management University (SMU) in 2012. Mr Chan says: "After working for several years, I felt I had enough corporate experience and maturity to appreciate the course, and wanted to master the hard and soft skills of business."

SMU still plays a major role in his life today, as he is also an adjunct teaching faculty member at its Lee Kong Chian School of Business, for the Master of Science in Innovation programme.


"When it comes to innovation, I always tell my students: You either let others disrupt you, or you disrupt yourself first. In the crowdfunding space, I discovered segments not met by private equity or venture capital."

This inspired him to start Fund Singapore last year, a business that he is now focused on, while his partners run BeaconRock Investments.

Mr Chan says: "I'm also involved in start-up competitions every year and the idea was to use local money to help support local companies.

"The team has strong expertise in the private equity segment and in venture capital, as well as ex-investment bankers on board. Using our collective skills, we can find value companies to invest in, and for the public to invest along with us."

I make all my investments through BeaconRock and Fund Singapore. As a crowdfunding firm, Fund Singapore commits to co-investing in all campaigns to have our skin in the game, and commits to fund Singapore's start-ups and companies.

The paid-up capital for Fund Singapore - where I'm the majority shareholder - was $1 million.

The investment portfolio of Fund Singapore will change according to the market environment, and the targeted mix is 15 per cent in start-ups, 60 per cent in bigger firms and 25 per cent in real estate projects. We expect a yield of about 12 to 15 per cent a year.

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SUTD Partners with Six Venture Capitalists to Nurture Startups

Source :

Singapore, 26th May 2017 – The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has signed an MOU with six venture capitalists. The partnership aims to boost the university’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and nurture local startups.

The six partners are (in alphabetical order):

  1. BeaconRock: A company that focuses on financial management consultation, and private equity and venture capital related deals.
  2. FundedHere: A crowdfunding platform that connects investors to startups in Asia.
  3. Fund Singapore: A business of equity and debt crowdfunding platform for Singapore startups.
  4. Raffles Venture Partners: A venture capitalist that provides support to potential startups, in term of investment, co-working space and mentorship.
  5. RIA: An organization that works with start-ups through their various stages of growth. They run the AIRmaker suite of programs, including corporate innovation programs, an IoT-focused (Internet of Things) accelerator – Digital Health and Smart Urban Solutions sector, and a scaling programme for later stage start-ups.
  6. Velocity: A business acceleration program based in Singapore and supported by ACP Pte. Ltd. (a Registered Fund Management company with MAS and has an Accredited Business Angel status under the SPRING Seeds Capital Business Angel Scheme).


As a young university, SUTD is always looking for ways to improve and provide more resources to students who are aspiring entrepreneurs. The collaboration with the six partners, will provide more opportunities for students to receive support from potential investors and mentorship from the industry, with special focus in areas such as HealthTech, FinTech, EduTech, Big Data technology, Internet of Things, to name a few.

Under the MOU, SUTD students and startups will have the opportunity to interact with these partners through entrepreneurship-related activities, such as StartUp Fiesta, SUTD 10K Challenge, Create4Good, Startup Pitch Day, StartSomething@SUTD, etc. The partners will also establish a work placement programme for selected SUTD students as well as mentor promising startups.

SUTD has worked hard to cultivate a strong entrepreneurship ecosystem for students. Besides specially setting up the Office of Technology and Enterprise Management to support students’ startup ventures, ranging from experiential programmes, overseas entrepreneurship exposure, entrepreneurship capstone or final year project, incubation, mentoring, and events around entrepreneurship SUTD also recently launched the SUTD Technology Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), which is an integrated 4.5-year programme, where students graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering or Science and a Master of Science in Technology Entrepreneurship for students with a strong interest in entrepreneurship.

Said Dr Wong Woon Kwong, Director of SUTD’s Office of Technology and Enterprise Management: “The establishment of the MoUs demonstrates the commitment of SUTD, through its Entrepreneurship Centre, to provide the SUTD community a strong startup ecosystem to better support them in their spinoff aspirations and as a result, create more technologically grounded startups in Singapore. We are very excited to work with our partners in grooming future generations of entrepreneurs.”

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