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Singtel adds $100M to startup investment arm

Singapore telco pumps another $100 million into its VC arm Innov8 to expand its investment portfolio across Southeast Asia, China, Australia, Israel, and the US.
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Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor on

Singtel Group will pump another $100 million into its investment arm, Innov8, in a bid to nurture startups with technologies that are aligned with the telco's own focus. The funds also will expand its investment portfolio across regional and global markets, including Southeast Asia and Australia.  

The latest funds injection pushes the Singapore carrier's total capital in Innov8 to $350 million, which was first set up in 2010. The VC arm since had invested in more than 95 startups, including 35 exits, of which four were unicorns, Singtel said in a statement Tuesday. 

It added that Innov8 invested in startups that were in line with the group's businesses spanning 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), sustainability, cybersecurity, digital economy, and other emerging technologies. 

The additional $100 million also would go towards expanding the investment arm's portfolio in Southeast Asia, China, Israel, Australia, and the US, Singtel said. 

Innov8 CEO Edgar Hardless noted that it invested in both early- and growth-stage startups. He added that founders backed by the  VC arm would have access to as well as collaborate with Singtel's business units across its global network. 

Singtel Group CEO and Innov8 Chairh Yuen Kuan Moon said: "This capital infusion is meant for identifying and growing innovative startups with new technologies and capabilities that are synergistic and in lockstep with Singtel's strategic reset, to drive greater improvements in our core operations, accelerate our new growth engines, and place us at the forefront of new and fast-evolving areas.

"As we sharpen our business focus, we will recycle our assets and capital into selected growth areas, reshaping our portfolio to better serve our stakeholders and build momentum for the longer term," Yuen said. 

According to Singtel, Innov8's investment portfolio has included unicorns Arista, Ruckus, Jasper, and Shape, as well as US-based security rating platform BitSight, Israeli-based identity threat protection vendor Silverfort, and Singapore's AI-powered chatbot developer Wiz.ai. 

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