SINGAPORE, 11 September 2023: Protégé Ventures (PV), a student-run venture fund programme set up by the Singapore Management University Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SMU IIE), has launched the Marina & David Su Protégé Ventures Fund II.
This $500,000 sector-agnostic fund marks a milestone in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in tertiary institutions in Singapore, and will permit more investment in early-stage technology start-ups founded by students or recent graduates of Singapore’s polytechnics and universities which are seeking their pre-seed to seed funding.
This fund is made possible by the generosity of Mr David Su, founding managing partner of Matrix Partners China and a member of the SMU Enterprise Board. Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, Mr Heng Swee Keat, witnessed the launch of the fund at the opening ceremony of the Finals Week of the 11th Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), a biennial university start-up challenge organised by SMU IIE.
The PV fund programme was formed in 2017 to facilitate connections between university innovations and venture capital funding, and to foster collaboration among students across different tertiary institutions. PV also extends an opportunity for students to gain practical insights into the complex venture investment landscape, nurturing the next generation of tech and entrepreneurial leaders.
In the seven years since its inception, PV has witnessed significant success. It has trained a total of 251 students, evaluated over 1,100 deals and invested S$265,000 in 10 student start-ups that have collectively raised over S$35 million from notable institutional investors to date.
Said Mr Su: “As a venture capitalist, I have witnessed how venture capital has effectively funded disruptive innovations that fundamentally change the way we work and live. For Singapore to successfully engage the challenges of tomorrow, we must cultivate a new generation of tech-savvy, agile and skilled decision-makers who can take the lead in navigating the turbulent and uncertain technological and economic landscape with sensitivity and wisdom.”
Mr Su noted PV’s strong track record since 2017, which makes PV a credible channel for investing in student start-ups. “Our student VCs, essentially the leaders of tomorrow, are choosing to fund the future they believe in,” he added. “To ensure the continual success of initiatives designed to develop youth innovation and entrepreneurship like PV and the LKYGBPC, I believe forward-thinking investors with the experience and acumen should support them. By launching this fund, I am ‘putting money where my mouth is,’ and I urge more investors of my generation to step forward to do likewise,” he concluded.