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How to start VC Funds in Singapore?


How to start VC Funds in Singapore?

July 2021

Andrew Macintosh


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Last Updated on June 16, 2023

Where does Lanturn’s knowledge come from?

Most of our client base is in the asset management and VC funding space. As their corporate service provider, Lanturn gets the privilege to learn from some of the brightest minds in venture investing. Working with venture capitalists with an immense passion for nurturing and turning startups into the next unicorn is a pure pleasure for our team. 

Supporting these venture capital firms allows us to see the actual VC funding structure life cycles and structures of various venture capitals in Singapore. And it is usually not a bed of roses in reality. It is filled with ups and downs for any funds, be it a micro VC funding or corporate venture capital fund.

Venture capital fund structure – The common challenges 

It is common that venture capital funds find it challenging to do the following:

  • Raising VC funding within a specified timeframe

  • Source deals

  • Get the venture capital fund up and running within the timeline for deployment

If you are a first-timer starting micro VC funds, it is very common that the full process takes 3 to 17 months. To avoid repeating the same mistakes of many VC managers, here are some tips from the top venture capital firms in Singapore:

Pitch smartly

A fundraising process and a fund pitch are similar to a sales process and sales pitch. The law of influence applies. People buy from those they know, LIKE, and trust. Therefore, even if it is cliche, the trust principle of likeability is effective in influencing your investors.

Although warm introductions and building likeability get you closer to the first check, it is not all. Knowing how to pitch smartly is also very important. This means, your pitch should focus on demonstrating:

  • sectoral strengths (example – deeptech, Edtech, FinTech)

  • compelling investment thesis aimed at the correct audience

Having these will help you distinguish your venture capital fund from the rest. Because the process of raising VC funding is hardly smooth sailing, it is good practice to set and manage the right expectations for yourself and not expect a yes from any first meetings because no LPs would want to be the first anchor.

While you can try casting the net wide by setting a target number of LP meetings you want to achieve, don’t overshoot it. As the correlation between the number of LP meetings you have and the amount you raise is very weak. Instead, you can try getting your LPs engaged early by offering a rolling close.

One of the best practices we see from the top venture capital firms in Singapore is leveraging great technologies to extract the greatest value from their network, instead of throwing themselves into complex excel sheets.

Graphic Showing Three Tips on Starting a Venture Capital Fund in Singapore

Building a strong foundation

Just like the classic project management triangle, it is impossible to have all three – cost, time, and quality in a single setting. Starting a venture capital fund is not like buying a one-off grocery product off the shelf. It takes significant time and effort in gaining the trust of your LPs who are committing a larger check size without having concrete details on your proposed targets. The investment thesis and track record of your VC firms and funds become your only trade tools.

What if you are a first-timer, where you have left your corporate venture capital, hoping to start your own venture capital in Singapore? What and how can you showcase your track record?  Building your brand with SPV If you are a principal or associate who established good branding from your prior VC employer, a great way to build your own track record with LPs is through an SPV (deal-by-deal) arrangement.

Once you gather trust and a consistent deal record, the SPVs can lead to a larger fund. And therefore, you start building your very own brand and network with the LPs.

Be cost-conscious of venture capital funds

The simplest approach is to apply the “2 and 20” rule. Where you receive 20% as carrying interest and 2% as a management fee from your venture capital funds. Appropriate fee structure for LPs However, this might not sit well with LPs especially if you are a first-timer. The reason is, many LPs are very cost-conscious and they will try to squeeze the fee structure whenever possible. Some VCs counter this by purposely setting a higher fee structure, to create room for negotiation.

Be prepared to spend time negotiating this as striking a balance and ensuring you have enough funds for your bills will be a challenge. To ensure sufficient room for negotiations, it is a good practice to think about the optimal cost structures. Areas that have the most impact on your fund IRR are the initial legal cost and ongoing costs.

Fund Services with Lanturn

Having a cost-effective legal provider and fund administrators are vital in helping you to secure your LPs. If you are looking for ways to lower your ongoing fund costs and pick up tips from other experienced VCs, speak to our fund experts now!

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