International business school INSEAD is launching a new investment firm christened InseadAlum Ventures (IAV) with a total capital of $700K (S$1 million). The firm specifically aims to invest in startups with at least a co-founder being an INSEAD alumni.
With its base in Singapore, IAV will not be restricted to just the island-nation. It will be on a global lookout and will provide startups with mentorship, focus on seed funding fueling S$50K-S$200K in each startup, and help them reach a point where they can easily secure further funding. The startups will get to leverage the network of senior INSEAD alumni and faculty, industry experts, and other investors.
InseadAlum Ventures is even founded by alumni of INSEAD, Deepak Shahdadpuri, and Will Klippgen, who both are renowned investors. While Deepak is managing director of Singapore-based DSG Consumer Ventures, Will has co-founded Cocoon Capital, a VC firm focused on seed and series A rounds.
A derivative of INSEAD Global Private Equity Initiative (GPEI), faculty from GPEI and the Rudolf and Valeria Maag INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship (ICE) will be playing the role of advisers and mentors for IAV’s undertakings. The firm seems to have already made its first investment in a UK-based smart thermostat startup Switchee where it participated in the $580K seed round.
In a conversation with DealStreetAsia, Shahdadpuri told IAV is an initiative that he has been working on for a few years along with members of the faculty and other alumni. He got together with Will a year ago to take the initiative forward with an initial pool of a million.
Explaining that, the fund is denominated in Singapore currency, he told it was the default and most appropriate choice because it is structured as an investment holding company with incorporation in the country. He believes this venture will complement both’s current respective engagement in other firms, and also it a wonderful way for them along with other alumni to build the INSEAD entrepreneurial ecosystem.
INSEAD has its branches in Singapore, UAE and France, both Will and Deepak are based in Singapore which will facilitate the interactions with their students, alumni, and faculty.
Deepak also said they set up the firm to create value for the participants. Given its structure, IAV will be holding its position for as long as necessary to maximize value. They expect to be invested for 5-7 years on average. He adds they wish to deliver returns that the venture asset class as a whole seek to deliver, which in the current environment will be 20-25% IRR.