Press in 2017

Awareness in all our geographies

We are frequently mentioned in international media, and invited to share our thoughts at well-regarded events across the globe. Our companies get extensive coverage.

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gulf times logo

Quest Ventures part of launch of world’s first digital framework for Islamic economy

Gulf Times

Malaysia, home of the world’s largest Islamic finance industry, is taking the idea of creating a comprehensive Islamic economy a step further and announced it will launch a debut “Islamic Digital Economy Framework” by March next year as a growth backbone for its entire halal industry.

The driving force behind the Islamic digital initiative is the Malaysian Digital Economy Corp, or MDEC, a government-backed entity which is seeking to create a growth ecosystem for the Islamic economy in Malaysia in accordance with the government’s national strategy to tap the potential of both the Islamic and the digital economy.

Singapore-based Quest Ventures, which invests in Internet-related technology startups, as well as Jakarta-based Ethis Ventures, which invests in and supports Islamic crowd funding platforms, are among the three venture capital firms participating.

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Quest Ventures identified as key catalyst in Malaysia’s Islamic Digital Economy

Bernama

Quest Ventures is mentioned as one of the three investment firms that the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is working with. Ethis Ventures, one of the other investment firms, is a portfolio company of Quest Ventures, and further strengthens Quest Ventures’ collective presence in this space.

Malaysia’s leadership in Islamic finance and the halal sector put the country in a favourable position to dominate the Islamic Digital marketplace. The Islamic Digital Economy framework is part of Malaysia’s strategy to cement the country’s leadership in the global halal marketplace and create a unique and competitive advantage to accelerate the growth of digital economy.

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Singapore and Malaysia should be comrades in global tech battles, not competitors

Southeast Asia Globe

Singapore and Malaysia are playing catch up with global tech capitals, but their pace may be slowed by talent that’s looking too timid for the cutthroat business.

“But playing too nice can cripple the industry. James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, a venture fund focusing on China and Southeast Asia, says that local startups should emulate China’s ruthlessness and “get big fast”.

“There is nothing wrong with wanting to stay as a small entrepreneur, but if so, why play in the fast-growth tech game? Tech startups have to grow by penetrating new cities or countries, including expansion by acquisition. Otherwise, you are just setting yourself up to be acquired by the Chinese or the Americans when they enter your market.

Looking ahead, Tan says, a key tactic will be for Singapore and Malaysia to remain comrades, rather than competitors.

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Venture Partner Goh Yiping honoured in The Peak’s Power List 2017

The Peak

Venture partner Goh Yiping received The Peak’s magazine Power List 2017 award along with other industry honorees. Recognised for her achievements in the last decade, Yiping’s role in building up e-commerce in Indonesia was highlighted.

“By 2012, we facilitated about $10 million worth of transactions that originated from our site and was completed at our partners’ sites,” she says. All Deals Asia was acquired by Lippo Group in 2014. In the next three years, she helped Lippo Group to build from scratch Indonesian e-commerce site Matahari Mall. While it might look like yet another online shopping site, Matahari Mall presented a new concept for its time – Online-to-Offline.

“I emphasise three things: to keep reinventing ourselves to stay relevant, to experiment constantly, and to collaborate widely.”

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Women take Asia’s economic helm in the ASEAN-China Young Entrepreneur Forum

SAUCEInk

Delegates from China, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam gathered at Siem Reap, Cambodia. Under the title “Role of Emerging Youth and Women Entrepreneurs in Economic Development”, they worked together with government representatives to plan a clear pathway for local and international economic integration of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) while discussing the challenges of young female entrepreneurs.

Singapore brought seven young, competitive representatives that reflect the power of women entrepreneurs in the rapid-growing business landscape of Singapore. Quest Ventures’ senior analyst Jasmine Toh was the head of the Singapore delegation.

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福岡市、シンガポール政府のスタートアップ支援機関ACEとスタートアップの相互支援に関する覚書を締結

The Bridge

福岡市は28日、シンガポール政府のスタートアップ支援機関である ACE(Action Community for Entrepreneurship)とスタートアップの相互支援に関する覚書を締結したことを明らかにした。これまでに福岡市は、エストニア政府、ヘルシンキ市、台北市、台湾スタートアップハブ、サンフランシスコ D-HAUS(btrax による運営)、フランス・ボルドー都市圏、ニュージーランド・オークランド市と同様の覚書を締結しており、今回の ACE を含めると8例目となる(エストニア政府とは、傘下の3つの機関と覚書を締結)。

福岡市長の高島宗一郎氏、ACE Deputy Chairman で 55tuan.com(55団)の共同創業者でもある James Tan 氏。

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Fukuoka city and ACE Singapore signs MOU to help startups grow internationally

Startup City Fukuoka

James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, signed an MOU with the Japanese city of Fukuoka in his capacity as the vice-chairman of the Action Community for Entrepreneurship. Mr Soichiro Takashima, Mayor of Fukuoka, signed the MOU on behalf of the city.

“It (MOU) gives entrepreneurs access to information on the local market and access to a support system that provides them with all of the help they need to get their company up and running.”

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2017亚洲VR产业合作论坛成功举办,中韩VR架起沟通之桥

黑匣

求索创投高级分析师杜淑燕代表新加坡参加了在韩国首尔举行的2017亚洲VR产业合作论坛暨韩国虚拟现实产业博览会。

中国有最大的VR市场,韩国有顶级VR内容开发能力,但信息不对称之下双方如何对接?日前召开的2017亚洲VR产业合作论坛给出了答案。

9月16日至20日,2017亚洲VR产业合作论坛暨韩国虚拟现实产业博览会在韩国首尔召开。来自中韩日以及港台等国家和地区的200余位嘉宾齐聚岩洞数码媒体城,共话亚洲VR发展大势及商谈各方合作。

本届KVRF分展览和会议两个模块。参展项目达170多个,覆盖了中国、韩国、日本、新加坡、马来西亚、越南、香港、台湾等亚洲国家和地区的主要VR企业和投资机构。黑匣网、汇桔网、HTC Vive、幻影星空、启赋资本、超级队长、Pico、5号空间、创客街、当红齐天、大航海VR等中国机构代表悉数到场。

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marketing magazine logo

Is the Singapore F1 Grand Prix a vanity project? Quest Ventures venture partner Jeffrey Seah weighs in

Marketing Magazine

Jeffrey Seah, venture partner at Quest Ventures, said the F1 Grand Prix has evolved into “a transactional contract rather than a vanity or awareness project, as compared to the past”.

“The original aim of getting on the world map has been achieved. The timely change of F1 ownership has lubricated the renewal process,” Seah said.

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BLOCK71 - An Ecosystem Builder, Collaborator & Global Connector

NUS interviews James Tan in celebratory video documenting ecosystem building efforts

NUS Enterprise

As one of the earliest venture capital firms to set up in Blk71, Quest Ventures has seen the tremendous transformation of this area from one old flatted factory block to the LaunchPad that it is today.

In NUS Enterprise’s celebratory video on how it has shaped the ecosystem as a builder, collaborator and global connector, Quest Ventures managing partner James Tan was interviewed for his perspective.

“The transformation has been tremendous. I firmly believe that the ecosystem that NUS has been able to bring together has been the single biggest driver for making the place become what it is today,” says James in the video.

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Senior analyst Jasmine Toh represents Singapore at ASEAN-China Young Entrepreneur Forum in Cambodia

Agence Kampuchea Presse

Quest Ventures’ senior analyst Jasmine Toh represented Singapore at the ASEAN-China Young Entrepreneur Forum held in Cambodia. Jasmine was the head of the Singapore delegation.

Cambodia’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Luy David presided over the ASEAN-China Young Entrepreneur Forum organised in Siem Reap province from Sept. 3 to 5 under the theme “Role of Emerging Youth and Women Entrepreneurs in Economic Development.”

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marketing magazine logo

Venture partner Jeffrey Seah moves into blockchain technology space

Marketing Magazine
2017 Aug 24

Quest Ventures’ venture partner Jeffrey Seah has joined Gravity4 (G4), a marketing cloud platform specialising in artificial intelligence and big data. Seah will join the company’s advisory board, which is now focused on developing blockchain technologies to eliminate ad fraud.

Seah said that blockchain has the ability to address the “unwieldy and opaque supply chain” in marketing and advertising technology. Through the technology, the company aims to establish transparency and trust by creating a central and secure way to record, review and execute deals.

“With Gravity4 heavily investing in blockchain, we’ll be able to eliminate ad fraud and provide personalised experiences to eliminate the need for ad blockers, a solution the industry desperately needs,” Seah said.

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kontan.co.id logo

Hapz bukan sekadar jualan tiket

Kontan.co.id

Untuk mengembangkan aplikasinya, Selasa (1/8) lalu Hapz mendapatkan pendanaan senilai US$ 501.200 dari sejumlah investor. Yakni, Cocoon Capital, Quest Ventures, TinkBig Venture, dan SPH Media Fund, serta seorang investor malaikat (angel investor) yang tak diungkap namanya.

Hapz memang butuh banyak suntikan dana untuk mengembangkan platformnya. Soalnya, persaingan di bisnis tiket online di kawasan Asia Tenggara terbilang sengit.

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The Business Times Logo

Singapore top draw for startup professionals? Not so simple

The Business Times

The Startup Cities Index found Singapore to have outperformed 84 of the 85 ranked cities in five areas – startup ecosystem, salary, social security and benefits, cost of living and quality of life.

James Tan, managing partner of venture capital firm Quest Ventures, didn’t buy all the findings. For starters, he said, the number of vacation days – one of three indicators of social security and benefits – are “irrelevant” to startups.

He said: “To founders, there is often no concept of weekends or public holidays. In comparison to their multinational corporation competitors, startups neither have the luxury of time nor money. So they need to move fast. If they work one Saturday more than the large companies, these startups would have done 20 per cent more work.”

James also added that safety, often overlooked for the sake of opportunity, ought to be a key driver for people. “Our multi-cultural, multilingual and multi-religion environment creates a comfortable base from which everyone from around the world should feel welcome to start the next big thing.”

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nus logo

Dynamism and diversity in start-up ecosystem

NUS News

James Tan, Managing Partner of Quest Ventures joins Vinod Nair, CEO of MoneySmart; Mohan Belani, CEO of e27; Patricia Polizzi, CEO of Startup Autobahn Singapore; and Professor Wong Poh Kam, Director of NUS Enterprise to launch the report.

“Start-up hub [email protected] has become a dynamic ecosystem, with many start-ups entering and leaving it, as well as an evolving range and profile of start-ups. This was one of the key observations which Professor Wong Poh Kam, Director of NUS Entrepreneurship Centre at NUS Enterprise, shared during TechSG Insights at BLOCK71 Singapore on 2 August.”

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The Business Times Logo

Quest Ventures participates in panel to launch research on Singapore startup ecosystem at LaunchPad

The Business Times

JTC LaunchPad @ one-north has matured into a dynamic ecosystem for startups, according to latest research findings by TechSG. For starters, the number of tenants (startups and facilitators such as angel investors, venture capitalists and legal firms) grew 65% to 425 from November 2015 to March 2017.

Interestingly, LaunchPad startups have a higher degree of “ecosystem engagement” compared to tech startups in Singapore. 80% of LaunchPad startups are found to have participated in at least one government funding scheme, versus 64.2% of tech startups. Nearly 40% of LaunchPad startups have received venture capital funding, versus 15.8% of tech startups.

As LaunchPad’s largest private tenant and earliest venture fund, Quest Ventures’ managing partner James Tan was invited to be on the panel to discuss the findings, along with Vinod Nair, CEO of MoneySmart; Mohan Belani, CEO of e27; Patricia Polizzi, CEO of Startup Autobahn Singapore; and Professor Wong Poh Kam, Director of NUS Enterprise.

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The Business Times Logo

JTC LaunchPad has grown into dynamic startup ecosystem: NUS study

The Business Times

Rise in startups, angel investors, venture capitalists and legal firms reflects new growth areas globally.

Wong Poh Kam, director of NUS Enterprise, said on Wednesday that a dynamic ecosystem features a high turnover of tenants, a prominence of young firms (aged two and below), a diversity of firms (in size, activity and maturity), and evolving firm profiles.

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deal street asia logo

Hapz raises $500k seed round from investors including Quest Ventures

Deal Street Asia

Event-tech platform Hapz has raised S$680,000 ($499,595) in seed funding from Cocoon Capital, SPH Media Fund, Quest Ventures, TinkBig Venture and an angel investor.

The firm said it will use the proceeds to expand its team and build partnerships with merchants and event organisers across verticals and through the region.

A company representative told this portal that the investment rationale behind this for investors lay in it being a new market, with “no existing player in the S.E.A region who can do cross-border experience booking.”

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The Straits Times Logo

Quest Ventures provides seed funding for event platform Hapz

The Straits Times

Event platform Hapz has raised seed funding of $680,000 from Cocoon Capital, SPH Media Fund, Quest Ventures, TinkBig Venture and an angel investor.

SPH Media Fund chief executive Chua Boon Ping said: “We have been involved with Hapz since their early days as it was one of our accelerator start-ups. We like the value propositions that Hapz brings to both merchants and consumers. For consumers, it means getting better deals, powered by Hapz’s dynamic-pricing algorithm. And for merchants, Hapz provides a channel to promote events.”

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al arabiya logo

Have GCC Islamic banking and financial services failed to innovate?

Al Arabiya

Have Islamic banking and financial services innovated at the speed they were expected to? Rushdi Siddiqui, mentor at Quest Ventures was invited to comment.

“There are industry insiders who have been making similar arguments for a long time now. Rushdi Siddiqui, who is now Advisor at Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and Mentor at VC firm Quest Ventures, and is an industry veteran, says Islamic finance is deeply linked to oil/commodity prices and hence remains as volatile as price per barrel of oil.

“When oil is $80/barrel, surpluses exist, infrastructure projects are many, banks are lending to SMEs, and non-Muslim countries want part of the petro-liquidity. Conversely, when the price bandwidth is $35-50/barrel, there is a lot of pain for governments, SMEs, banks, and consumerism,” Siddiqui wrote as early as late last year.”

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nus logo

Girl Talk: Shaping the Girls in ICT story through conversation

NUS Enterprise

Singapore celebrated Girls in ICT Day 2017 on 20 April with a panel discussion involving influential female start-up founders and women who work in tech companies. The event was co-organised by NUS Enterprise, Angels of Impact and Female Founders.

The three entrepreneurs on the panel are among 15% of women who make up the Singaporean start-up founder community. In Singapore, only 3% of venture capital funds go to women in Singapore, shared Joanna Catalano, President of the Singapore Chapter of Female Founders.

One thing that draws all the women together is grit, laced with elegance.

“Even if I start a business and fail, I can start again.” — Yiping Goh.

Don’t be daunted by failure, said Yiping, who had learnt the ropes of running a business as the 8-year-old cashier of her parents’ hawker stall. Daring experimentation is not new to the Real Estate major-turned-entrepreneur, who embraced the NUS Overseas Colleges programme for its opportunity to travel abroad and later gained further overseas experience in Indonesia-based eCommerce platform Matahari Mall.

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SPRING Singapore appoints Quest Ventures as an Accredited Mentor Partner (AMP) under Startup SG Founder

OpenGov Asia

Quest Ventures is pleased to announce that we are now an Accredited Mentor Partner under the Startup SG Founder program after a comprehensive, multi-agency evaluation process.

“The 17 AMPs range across different industries from manufacturing, fintech, digital commerce and medical technologies.

An evaluation panel with representatives from SPRING, National Research Foundation (NRF), Economic Development Board (EDB), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), deliberated on the selection. The AMPs were assessed on a set of criteria which included the track record of management team and quality of development programmes.”

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Meet the VC: Quest Ventures on why Chinese founders are tougher than Singaporean entrepreneurs

e27

“James Tan, Managing Partner of Quest Ventures, expounds on the strengths and shortcomings of Singapore startups and the state of the Chinese tech ecosystem.”

“Needless to say, the founders (of Quest Ventures) know first-hand how difficult it is to build and scale a startup sustainably. e27 spoke with Tan, who is currently based in China, to gather his thoughts of the state of Singapore’s tech ecosystem, and how it matches up to the US and China.”

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portfoliomagsg

Mapping out growth

Portfolio Magazine

“Since the time that James Tan started Quest Ventures in 2011, it has funded some of the top startups in Southeast Asia including Carousell, 99.co, ShopBack, Ethis, Xfers, and Oddle.me, among many others. It remains focused on startups that have scalability and replicability in large Internet communities.”

“We continue to scan the horizon for the next big thing to bet on. We are usually the first cheque or investment into a tech startup so this means we are unusually forward-looking and can take a long term view on investments that few can,” says James. “Our DNA is deeply entrepreneurial. All our staff are hands-on and work hard side-by-side with entrepreneurs whom we consider part of our family. The Quest family is very close knit.”

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The Straits Times Logo

Impact on tech with changes in US visa rules

The Straits Times

The Straits Times asked Quest Ventures’ managing partner, James Tan, for his opinion on the changes surrounding the issuance of H1B work visas for employment in the United States.

Asked if the changes in visa rules and cost will affect tech workers based in the US or force tech workers to reconsider the US as a work destination, James said, “If one qualifies for the visa, why wouldn’t it be worth it to stay on, especially in tech and in the Bay Area? While the visa is important, its cost nonetheless pales against the opportunities and costs of living in the US.”

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China Daily Logo

Fostering Startups

China Daily

In a cover story for the ASEAN Edition of the China Daily, Quest Ventures’ James Tan was interviewed along with Edith Yeung of 500 Startups, and Duncan Logan of RocketSpace.

James said, “Before, China was a few years behind the West. Now, it is a few days behind… Chinese money moves faster, is more aggressive and makes decisions more quickly.”

Commenting on the financial front, however, Tan noted that the ‘white hot’ startup scene is headed for a correction in valuation. “You’re already seeing it in India, but it hasn’t occurred in China.”


The Straits Times Logo

Singapore No. 1 in world for start-up talent: Report

The Straits Times

The Straits Times covered the latest report from Startup Genome and remarked that “perhaps the biggest surprise coming out of a 150-page research report covering 10,000 start-ups and 300 partner companies worldwide is that tiny Singapore has overthrown tech centre Silicon Valley as the world’s No. 1 for start-up talent.”

The Republic also has the sixth-highest percentage of immigrant founders at 35 per cent.

“Singapore is an open society and welcomes entrepreneurs from around the world to create the next big thing here,” said Mr James Tan, managing partner of Asian technology venture fund Quest Ventures.”

Besides Quest Ventures, Dr Alex Lin of SGInnovate, Mr Lim Der Shing of JobsCentral Group and Mr Tiang Lim Foo of SeedPlus were also quoted.

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startup sg launch

S$20m for first-time entrepreneurs under Startup SG initiative

Channel NewsAsia

A budget of S$20 million will be set aside under the Startup SG initiative to support first-time entrepreneurs. This was announced by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon on Wednesday (Mar 22) at an event marking the opening of three new blocks at JTC LaunchPad @ one-north.

As Deputy Chairman of ACE and responsible for driving internationalisation, Quest Ventures’ managing partner James Tan co-hosted the launch and site tour together with Poon Hong Yuen, CEO of SPRING Singapore; Alvin Tan, Assistant CEO of JTC; and other senior representatives.

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新加坡政府拨2亿元入起步新加坡投资计划

联合早报

新加坡政府将拨出2亿元入“起步新加坡投资”计划,用来投资在进行深奥科技的起步公司。政府也拨款2000万元入“起步新加坡创办人”计划,协助首次开办公司者创业。

国家发展部兼贸工部政务部长许宝琨医生今天在纬壹科技城起步谷三座新大楼的入伙庆祝会致词时, 针对在贸工部拨款委员会国会辩论上公布的一系列“起步新加坡”计划做进一步说明。

身为新加坡创业行动社群副主席的求索创投管理合伙人陈中、新加坡标新局总裁、裕廊集团副总裁及其他高级代表联合主持仪式并参观起步谷。

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Startup Genome quotes Quest Ventures in report on global startup ecosystems

Startup Genome

In a wide-ranging report that covered startup ecosystems around the globe, JF Gautheir, Founder and CEO of Startup Genome, said, “our (startup) culture is special and truly global… people who are busy working on their own ideas and organisations frequently take the time to make (introductions, favours, connections)”.

Beijing and Shanghai appeared in the report for the first time, and immediately leaped into 4th and 8th respectively, pushing Singapore to the 12th position from its previous 10th.

Singapore has the 6th highest Percentage of Immigrant Founders in the world at 35%. It also has the 3rd highest level of Global Connectedness of all top 20 ecosystems outperforming even Silicon Valley.

Invited to provide a human perspective to the data, Quest Ventures’ James Tan was quoted: “Singapore is an open society and welcomes entrepreneurs around the world to create the next big thing here.”

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Cafebond.com on bringing Australia’s best coffee beans to Singapore

Buro 24/7

Accessing the world of fashion and contemporary culture through an Asian lens, Buro 24/7 interviewed Cafebond.com co-founders Eugene Chen and Keyis Ng.

They described how their experience with great coffee in Melbourne inspired them to go “online to find a way to purchase coffee from Melbourne, only to find out that some cafes do not ship outside of Australia. For those that did, the shipping fees ended up costing more than the bag of beans itself.”

Asked about the “most interesting person” they have met on the job, they answered, “It would be James Tan, the managing partner of Quest Ventures – Cafebond.com’s first investor. James is also one the very first investors to bolster top local start-ups such as Carousell99.co, and Burpple. He has been very supportive. Given his wealth of experience, we’ve learnt a lot from him as an investor and mentor.”

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Singapore startup founders talk about their first investors, and the meetings that started it all

Vulcan Post

Vulcan Post profiles how Singapore start-ups met their first investors, with companies CarousellBurpple, and 99.co among the interviewees.

“Needless to say, not all investments pay off due to many reasons, but there are some investors who somehow have the Midas touch when it comes to identifying potential successes.”

The common investor across these companies? James Tan of Quest Ventures.

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The Straits Times Logo

Singapore company creates karaoke device named Popsical that fits in one’s hand

The Straits Times

The Straits Times covers a new piece of hardware backed by Quest Ventures.

“Shaped like a disc, weighing a mere 150g and fitting into the palm of your hand, Popsical does not look like the average karaoke machine. But plug it into any sound system and TV and you can be belting out your favourite songs to background music.

Popsical works with a mobile app that contains an ever-expanding music library of more than 30,000 ditties ranging from the classics to the latest hits in more than eight languages including English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, Hindi and Thai.

About $475,000 in investments has come from companies such as Quest Ventures, the venture capital firm that backed online marketplace app Carousell.”

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