Uncovering the NOC mafia, which is way bigger than you think

Tech in Asia

What do companies like ShopBack, PatSnap, Carousell, and 99.co have in common?

Beyond the fact that they were founded by fresh graduates, all three startups were launched by members of the 3,400-strong alumni network of the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Overseas Colleges program.

The program, known as NOC for short, dates back to 2002 when its first batch of students were sent to Silicon Valley. NOC, which has been a foundational experience and source of support for many of Singapore’s leading startup founders, was designed to expose NUS students to entrepreneurship via full-time internships with startups around the world.

Some NOC alumni have gone on to hold key positions in startup enablers. These include Durwin Ho, CEO and co-founder of innovation consultancy firm StartupX, Goh Yiping, serial entrepreneur turned-VC at Quest Ventures, as well as MDI Ventures’ investment director Shannon Lee Chaluangco. Tapping on seniors from both sides of the table gives NOC alumni-founded startups a leg up over the competition.

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