Small World Group knows the planet is small and the population huge. So we align with sustainability.

Make a 1% ∆: Startups with ambition and potential to improve the world by 1% should apply. We provide seed funding and mentorship for early stage clean tech, optical systems and novel materials startups.

OUR PARTNERS have founded and run a dozen companies, led tech companies through IPOs and acquisitions, seen failures and learned tough lessons. More than money managers, we're technology, process and customer oriented. Half of us are engineers.

We relish getting our hands dirty. Frank focuses on technology, Dean on operations and process, Kent on teams and company operations, David on marketing, Cindy on finance, and Maya on legal. This balanced team is designed to support the startups we fund.

Frank founded Finisar Corporation (NASDAQ:FNSR) in 1988 and built it into the largest optical component manufacturer worldwide. Finisar now ships fiber optics adding at least 10 Mb/s per month per person on Earth. Frank is a venture partner with Phoenix Venture Partners, a group that focuses on high-tech materials. He is also an active social entrepreneur. Click here for Frank's Calendar.
Kent is a veteran of 4 venture backed startups, 2 IPOs, and a decade of Angel Investing. He leveraged a PhD in Mathematical Physics into a career spanning R&D to operations, managing teams of up to 300 engineers. He worked on the Hubble Telescope ground station and image processing for the US Postal Service. Kent serves as a volunteer judge for the Clean Tech Open, Imagine H2O, and Startup Chile business plan competitions.
Dean has worked with Frank since 1999, starting at Finisar where he assembled teams that grew the company from the pre-IPO startup days. Every time you write an email or visit a website, you are certainly sending data through at least one device that Dean worked on. Specializing from whiteboard ideas to the first $1M in sales, Dean has led three startups as CEO and co-founded Small World Group Incubator in Singapore.
David founded internationally recognized Young & Laramore Advertising in 1983, and served as Chief Marketing Offcer, Chief Creative Offcer and CEO throughout his career there. His radical approach to marketing, applying philosophical rigor, scientific method, and cognitive science, has helped launch over 20 tech start-ups. He joined Small World Group in 2013.
Maya provides legal advice for entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals in financial, estate and tax, business succession, and charitable planning. She worked with two prominent Philadelphia law firms before meeting Frank in 1998 as his company, Finisar, was receiving the attention of venture capitalists. She has since worked with his family, and joined SWG as chief counsel in 2006.
Cindy was in the wealth management business for over twenty years, specializing in financial planning for individuals, families and their related businesses, including several private venture capital funds. She sold her boutique multi-family office Intrinzia Family Office to a wealth management advisory firm in 2011, before joining Small World Group later that year.
We welcome entrepreneurs who share our vision. For new startups, we provide seed funding and/or hands-on mentoring and consultancy. We use bootstrapping wizardry to help startups get to working prototypes sooner, to manufacturing earlier and to market faster. If your venture already has solid products and a growing customer base, we can provide licensing opportunities for the Southeast Asian market - resulting in a hassle-free bump to your bottom line. This region has twice the population of the USA and a $2T GDP. SWG has access to the capital, expertise, and professional networks needed to bring your product to this market. In addition to our usual focus areas (cleantech, optical systems, novel materials), we also seek licensing opportunities for innovative agribusiness and eco-friendly mining products.

Seed Stage Investments

Early in: Our typical seed investments are US$250-600k for very early-stage companies –sometimes before the company is even formed– through the seed funding round. We plan seed funding to last at least 12 months. In Singapore we have a long-term partnership with the Singapore National Research Foundation. Small World Group Incubator (SWGI) operates under the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF) Technology Incubation Scheme. The Incubator has funded a dozen companies with another dozen in the pipeline.

Seed-Stage Companies

Green Koncepts builds monitoring and control systems for facility energy and water usage. Hardware pushes data to the cloud where customers can view it and control energy use from a computer or mobile device.
Rapsodo focuses on a product that combines optics, hardware and software to bring a dramatic twist to target markets.
Green Line Innovations partners with hardware startups to be their bridge to Asian-based high volume manufacturing. GLI’s experienced team from Fortune 500 companies reduces risk and lowers costs for startups.
Third Wave Power aims to empower people around the world by improving lives and increasing productivity. By combining sustainable energy with innovative technology and features, the company creates portable power solutions that are essential for work and life, on or off the power grid. Third Wave Power’s renewable power solutions are used in field work, emergency back-up situations, outdoor environments and rural programs the world over, bringing power to people where it matters and is needed most.
Bio-Machines is a Singapore-based company providing rapidly deployable and low-cost IoT (Internet-of-Things) networks in agriculture and smart cities. They combine sensor data with cloud-based analytics to augment decision-making and create actionable insights.
Time2Talk focuses on rugged mobile computing tablets for security and other vertical markets in countries like Bangladesh.
aSpecial Media specializes in online behavior targeting. They connect consumers to relevant content and content creators looking to acquire new audiences.
Wise Water is commercializing in the Water Universe using new innovative technology from MIT to purify Water. This technology includes a number of features that in specific areas out-performs traditional RO or ED.
Avetics specializes in aerial photography, video and mapping. Avetics has the ability to deploy from Singapore to the rest of the world.
Matralix is an advanced materials company focused on design and manufacture of nano-materials for optical systems and biological detection of pathogens without culturing. The first target is a rapid screening kit for Tuberculosis.
Smart Animal Husbandry Care (SAHC) is a new Singapore Clean Tech startup company that provides systems for monitoring animal health in industrial scale agribusiness; client benefits include improved production as well as improved animal health.
Lean Care Solutions Corporation specializes in healthcare analytics. LCS utilizes operations research modeling and business analytics to provide decision support tools, solving problems such as resource utilization, patient flow, scheduling and readmissions.
Stored Energy Solutions designs, builds, tests and sells retrofitable regenerative hybrid transmissions for heavy commercial vehicles such as refuse trucks. The Technology is based on Compressed Nitrogen Energy Storage and hydraulics. The company is located in Anderson, Indiana and has a functional vehicle. During the first half of 2014 additional vehicles will be built and put into service to provide extensive field testing of the system.
Fathom Voice is a software-as-a-service company that helps businesses better communicate with clients and employees, and more fully understand prospective customers. With our online voice portal, Go.FathomVoice; applications like SMS and Receptionist; and detailed, real-time Analytics on calls; our voice solutions make the phone relevant again.
H2Optx is a Silicon Valley start-up delivering automated process monitoring solutions to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. H2Optx technology includes our mPAT family of optical measurement solutions that can provide detailed data on small molecule material structures, composition and other important variables in seconds or minutes. In addition to small molecules, the mPAT platform is also ideally suited to monitoring of biopharmaceuticals and can be used in the non-invasive characterization of cells in micro-well plates with application to stem cell research and regenerative medicine.
Spinlectrix designs, builds and tests novel energy storage based on flywheels.  The Spinlectrix design is radically different from previous approaches and allows for much higher performance at very low costs to meet the needs for grid level energy storage.

Later Stage Investments

Small World Capital invests in post-seed companies that have:  filed patents and other IP;  early prototypes or products;  some customer feedback and sales.  Typically we do not invest beyond Series B rounds.  

Later-Stage Companies:

Daylight Solutions designs and manufactures advanced molecular detection and imaging instruments.  Their core technology–tunable lasers–provides significant advancement in medical diagnostics, security, military, and industrial or environmental monitoring.
Vixar designs and manufactures visible and near-IR optical components and systems based on their own designs for vertical cavity lasers (VCSELs).  They reduce power consumption in handheld devices, improve the motion control sensors, and enhance office peripheral or vehicle/home networks.
YouNoodle is a place to discover and support the hottest early-stage companies and university innovations.

Social Enterprises

Small World Engineering currently works with non-profit institutes to create prototypes or field gear for biological applications: the monitoring of animals, plants, and ecosystems. Current partners include the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS),  Butler University, Grace College and others.  

Our Ethos: Clean tech and hardware aren’t currently the vogue areas for investment. But we’re okay being uncool. For we have each come to recognize the challenges we face as a species on this planet. That’s why the majority of our investments go into clean tech and enterprises that aid the human condition.

Our mission: We support innovations in clean technology. We’re keen to develop long term monitoring of our world that will provide data and insights to future generations who will have to deal with climate and biosphere changes.

Our vision: To develop sustainable initiatives that will help correct the destructive impact humans have on this small planet.

This is not intended as philanthropy. We measure our success the same way any venture firm would – by our returns.

Our due diligence: Typically lasts 60-180 days. It comprises working directly with entrepreneurs to stress-test the fundamental premise of their business plan. We make certain they learn to be their own best critics.

We have an open model and a set of systems that each venture adopts. Accounting systems, planning systems and other elements are all online. This allows us to interact with company leaders over the web, no matter where on the planet we are.