Small World Group knows the planet is small and the population huge. So our goals are aligned with alternative energy and sustainability.

We provide seed funding, mentorship, networking and long-term collaboration for early stage startups that are primarily in clean tech, optical systems and novel materials. With our combined operational expertise and creative agility, Small World Group helps startups realize their ideas and get them to market.


Like the teams we work with, we are also entrepreneurs: between us we have founded and run at least a dozen companies. We have led technology companies through the IPO process and  made many acquisitions, and we have also seen failures and learned tough lessons. We do not think of ourselves as money managers;  we are technology, process and customer oriented. Half of us have advanced technical degrees and have worked as engineers, and the other half have business or legal focus. All of us have held senior operating positions in both large and small companies. We still relish diving in and getting our hands dirty.

Frank founded Finisar Corporation (NASDAQ: FNSR) in 1988 and built it into the largest optical communications component maker worldwide. Finisar now ships fiber optics adding at least 100 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.
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.
Bernard works closely with Frank to identify and evaluate commercialisation opportunities for Western technologies in the ASEAN region. He was a senior originator and trader within the Morgan Stanley Commodity group, where he helped start the Asia power and feedstock business and was actively involved in transactions across the Asia pacific. Bernard primarily works with Small World Group through our partnership with Lion City Applied Sciences
Prior to Small World Group, Brian was a venture capitalist in a strategic fund where he evaluated and managed companies in the renewables portfolio. He was previously a research engineer at Rio Tinto, CEA (French center for atomic energy) and Boston Scientific Corp, and also headed market entry projects in plastics, microelectronics and solar. He has a PhD in Materials Science from Cambridge University and an MBA with distinction from Ecole de Management in Grenoble, France. Brian primarily works with Small World Group through our partnership with Lion City Applied Sciences.
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.

Phoenix Venture Partners (PVP)is a Series A/B fund that focuses on advanced materials and this often has applications in optics or clean technology. PVP is in the final stages of raising its 2nd fund. The firm operates also using a partnership model where the companies they help fund have joint development agreements, for example, with large Multinational Corps such as 3M or Pfizer. This helps the startup companies focus on real-world products and specifications and gets them additional non-dilutive funding that is typically equal to what is provide by PVP directly. Frank serves as a General Partner with PVP.

Lion City Applied Sciences (LCAS) is at heart a partnership that leverages the complimentary relationships and acumen of its founders and team. Accumulating more than 50 years of business experience in Asia Pacific, the core members have supported the development of sound businesses which are based on strong IP and effective market insights. With strong local knowledge and networks, LCAS takes an active role in helping western companies navigate and get critical access to markets in Asia-Pac region.

We welcome entrepreneurs who share our vision.  For us to invest in your idea or company, we must feel that there will be an abiding partnership between us all.   For new startups, we provide seed funding and/or hands-on mentoring and consultancy. We use a partnership model to help startups get to working prototypes sooner, to manufacturing earlier and to market faster and most importantly engaged with early customers.  We have strong ties to research labs and large MNCs in the areas of clean tech, optics and advanced materials and we use these links to help invested companies engage in Joint Development Agreements (JDAs) with the partner MNCs.

Because Frank is also a General Partner for the Series A/B fund Phoenix Venture Partners ( some of our seed investments have the opportunity to work towards follow on funding with PVP.  The group focuses on advanced materials and optics as well.

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.  Our partner for this activity is Lion City Applied Sciences.  (

Early in: Our typical seed investments are US$50-500k 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. Some of our investments engage a stable of angels we have done deals with consistently over the past 10 years. These people all have been successful entrepreneurs creating companies with substantial profitable exits.

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 Singapore Incubator has funded more than 15 companies.

Singapore -

Rapsodo focuses on a product that combines optics, hardware and software to bring a dramatic twist to target markets.

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.

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.

Canopy Power designs, builds, sells and supports microgrids for remote or off-grid electrical power applications.  Canopy integrates solar, batteries and generators together with smart inverters to make compelling solutions that provide solid cost and reliability advantages.



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.

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.

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.

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 is simple: 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 deal with climate and biosphere changes.

Our vision is 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.

We are driven to sift through the many plans we receive annually to find the 1-2 teams where engagement makes sense and where our partnership with the company can provide access to early large customers, funded Joint Development Agreements, and introductions to potential acquirers.  The areas of tech where we invest are not so fashionable but we’re okay being uncool. In the areas of clean tech, optics and advanced materials we believe we are the goto firm for seed funding.

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.