Quest Ventures, ShipsFocus launch $7.5m maritime-focused fund

DealStreetAsia

Singapore-based early-stage venture capital firm Quest Ventures and Singapore-based maritime venture builder ShipsFocus have jointly launched a $7.5 million (S$10 million) fund to invest in early-stage maritime startups.

The fund, which raised capital from high net worth individuals and family offices, will issue cheques between S$250,000 and S$1 million in seed and Series A companies. It has invested in underwater robot maker so far, with two more in the pipeline, Quest Ventures managing partner James Tan told DealStreetAsia.

“[The sum of] $10 million is not small. It is a thematic fund, which means we are allocating 100% of it to only one sector. At the early stage that we are investing in, this provides sufficient capital for a portfolio of 20 companies,” he said.

The fund will back startups that are creating solutions for the entire shipping supply chain such as digital operating systems, products and services that reduce shipping emissions, autonomous vehicles, and drones for inspection.

SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, will invest up to $5 million alongside the fund in Singapore-based startups. The ShipsFocus-Quest Ventures fund was one of selected by SEEDS to invest in maritime startups in the country.

Tan said the new fund aims to jumpstart a fledging maritime technology sector in Singapore. Though the city-state has the world’s second-busiest container port — 25% of trade passes through Singapore every year and is expected to account for 29% by 2025 — and largest bunkering port, technology companies that serve the sector are still few, he said.

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