Private investment firm Marvelstone Group has announced the launch of new venture arm, Marvelstone Ventures to invest in companies and startups specializing in smart-city technologies. With a corpus of $14 million, it intends to execute high-impact technologies that will propel emerging Asian cities into world-class cities.

The venture-builder strategy is a business model in which firms with resources work on companies from scratch following their own visions instead of investing in external startups. According to an official statement, Marvelstone is treading the venture-building path because successful venture builders tap into a network of partners to eventually create fully-operational companies. This will help Marvelstone Ventures “move from being a catalyst to drive and lead innovation”.

Joel Ko, a managing partner of the Marvelstone Group will play the role of chief executive of the venture. Ko is also the co-founder of Marvelstone’s fintech hub Lattice80 which is the largest fintech co-working space located in Singapore’s Central Business District. In an official statement, Joel says,

Marvelstone Ventures plans to invest only in smart-city and paradigm-shifting technologies like blockchain, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and, of course, fintech. These technologies are critical in shaping a smart city and enhancing the lives of ordinary people.

Joel will continue to play an active role in other undertakings of Marvelstone Group. He says the long-term plan for the new venture arm, is to set up a fund worth $50 to $100 million in the next two to three years.

While the venture arm will primarily focus on all of Asia, Gina Heng, the Co-founder and CEO of Marvelstone Group, says she hopes they can help Singapore become the world’s smartest city “before the turn of the next decade”.

Whereas Ko says that Marvelstone Ventures is also on the lookout for opportunities to work with other investors, related partners and institutions in public and private sectors across Asia so that it can help drive innovation in the region.

Incorporated in South Korea, the group was born in South Korea, but in 2016 the company focused and managed to build a strong presence in Singapore, which is now the company’s headquarters for operations.

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