This past week we submitted our first 2 companies for funding through the Singapore National Research Foundation Technology Incubation Scheme.
We began this journey almost 15 months ago and it had the following steps –
- Proposal phase – we prepared a written proposal that included our backgrounds, qualifications, investment directions, time commitments (July – Sept, 2009)
- Review phase – NRF reviewed 34 proposals and short listed 15; these were called for personal presentations; award were made to selected groups on Dec 30, 2009
- Negotiation phase – NRF and the 7 selected incubators negotiated the working documents under which the incubators would operate. The major operating agreement was signed on April 23, 2010 and then the company forming investment agreements and investor rights agreements were finished in mid-June, 2010.
- Even before the “ink was dry” on Dec 30 we began reviewing business plans and startup proposals. We ended up rejecting many and remembered that “no” is probably the most used VC word.
Finally we saw 4 companies emerge as potential SWG Incubator companies.
Eventually one was taken out because Singapore government entities did not want to allow us to fund them. This surprising outcome is very Singapore centric as this is a country with a variety of entrepreneurial funding schemes and some internal conflicts exist even though there are no written rules about why this is so.
Two were funded –
- Optiras which will focus on opportunities in solar thermal applied to buildings in the tropical regions
- Green Koncepts which focuses on monitoring and control systems for buildings
One is waiting in the wings which is a personal power station for people in the deep third world. More on that when the funding is ready.
All of our companies will remain in reasonable stealthy modes until their first products are ready for unveiling. We see little reason to hold a press conference or celebrate funding. What is important for us is working with customers early, making steady development progress and creating shareholder value.
So look to hear more from our start ups perhaps in the March – April, 2011 time frame.