Singapore-based real estate company CapitaLand has formed C31 Ventures, a US$74M fund targeting growth-stage realty tech startups across the globe as a way to "build real estate of the future".
The launch of C31 Ventures follows a CapitaLand tech-scout trip to New York and San Francisco, where the group met startups including those in the Internet of Things, data analytics and virtual and augmented reality sectors.
The group also joined the Microsoft Accelerator program earlier this month as an official global network partner to provide mentorship to start-ups and gain access to new technology and ideas.
The property giant says it is prepared to invest up to $100 million through C31 Ventures, which started with a $15 million investment in the Early Stage Venture Fund III (ESVFIII) by the National Research Foundation (NRF) in May for local tech start-ups.
C31 Ventures was launched by CapitaLand President and Group CEO Lim Ming Yan at a recent networking event in San Francisco. The event attracted over 50 attendees from start-ups and venture capital firms in the Bay Area.
“C31 Ventures will allow CapitaLand to invest in promising tech start-ups that are relevant and add value to our business,” Lim says.
“CapitaLand’s portfolio of real estate assets offers a living lab to start-ups where they can validate their ideas and prototypes. Given our strong foothold in Asia, CapitaLand will also serve as a conduit for start-ups to enter the regional market, especially China.
“We are confident C31 Ventures will greatly sharpen our innovation focus on real estate and customer engagement, bolstering our efforts to develop integrated and interconnected smart buildings as well as create seamless online and offline customer experiences,” he says.
Lim adds CapitaLand is “future-proofing its business by leveraging technology to innovate and build real estate of tomorrow”.
C31 Ventures will target startups in the Series A to Series C stages of development which focus on energy, operations and maintenance; design and building materials, customer engagement and real estate funding.
They will be assessed on a combination of criteria ranging from speed to market, product and financial viability, to valuation and operational metrics.
Shortlisted startups will then be reviewed by an investment committee comprising CapitaLand senior management and external advisers including GGV Capital Managing Partner Foo Jixun and Matrix Partners China Managing Partner David Su.
In May, CapitaLand was selected to co-invest in the ESVFIII by the NRF, a department within the Prime Minister’s Office of Singapore.
The $25 million fund comprises $15 million from C31 Ventures and $10 million from the NRF.
Under the ESVFIII, CapitaLand will invest in Singapore tech start-ups with innovations that will enhance and complement its business.