Singapore: Opportunities For Venture Capital Investments In Singapore In 2018

Last Updated: 12 January 2018
Article by Wan Hong Chan and Nigel Chia

Shifting Legal Landscapes And Promising Technology Trends


Heading into 2018, we look back on several key developments in the legal landscape in the past year that we expect will provide new opportunities for venture capital funds in Singapore. We also share our thoughts on promising trends in venture technology and emerging growth companies in the year ahead.


Simplified rules for managers of venture capital (VC) funds

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had on 20 October 2017 announced a simplified regulatory regime for VC fund managers. Previously, the qualifying criteria demanded, inter alia, VC fund managers to have at least five years of management experience, high capital capabilities and imposed onerous terms in relation to business conduct – with the new regime, such minimum qualifying criteria have been removed. This will attract a new set of VC managers and contribute to Singapore's vibrant start-up and growth stage market. For further details on such changes, please see our earlier article ( Venture Capital fund managers may begin operations in record time in Singapore).


On 11 October 2017, Singapore formally adopted a re-domiciliation regime that allows certain foreign companies to be registered as a Singapore company limited by shares. With the enactment of new "Transfer of Registration" provisions under Part XA of the Companies Act (Chapter 50 of Singapore), foreign start-ups may find it compelling to re-domicile in Singapore to capitalise on its unique position as a reliable and efficient international business hub with access to various Asian markets, as well as its favourable tax regime.

In addition to increasing the pool of potential investee companies, the re-domiciliation regime will be a boon for investors who may be reluctant to invest directly into a foreign jurisdiction whose laws may be comparatively complicated or uncertain. Instead of requiring the founders of the foreign start-up to incorporate a new Singapore holding company and to effect various transfers of assets and shares to the Singapore entity, start-ups can make use of the re-domiciliation regime to transfer the registration of their existing entity to a Singapore company to facilitate the investor's equity investment, without the hassle of operational disruptions. This also dovetails the general preference for Singapore as a forum for dispute resolution in the region.

Enhanced Debt Restructuring Regime / Super-priority for Rescue Financing

A suite of debt restructuring reforms consolidated in the Companies Act came into force on 23 May 2017. The enhanced debt restructuring regime is a hybrid that builds upon existing legislation and combines key features of Chapter 11 US Bankruptcy Code provisions. With at least six workout cases filed in the Singapore courts to-date and a new Insolvency Bill to be enacted in 2018 that will further streamline and update its insolvency laws, Singapore will continue its push to establish itself as a debt restructuring hub in Asia and beyond.

Of particular interest to funds and corporates would be the super-priority for rescue financing enhancements to the scheme of arrangement and judicial management regimes (under Sections 211E and 227HA of the Companies Act respectively). Singapore courts can now order that the debt arising from rescue financing be accorded super-priority over existing debt, which should encourage the injection of critical funds to salvage distressed companies and envigorate the debt recovery market. Investors looking to capitalise on such opportunities to bridge the lending gap will do well to follow this space and related nascent jurisprudence closely.

MAS Regulations

Against the backdrop of continuous technology disruptions in the financial industry (and beyond), MAS has created a conducive ecosystem for financial technology (FinTech) experimentation in Singapore. MAS' aim is for innovations to be tested and developed in a safe and well-defined regulatory sandbox before wider adoption locally and abroad.

It was announced at the Singapore FinTech Festival organised by MAS in November 2017 (where over US$2 billion of capital was available for investment in start-ups) that MAS will expedite sandbox application assessments and further loosen the regulatory boundaries for solutions where the risks do not outweigh the potential benefits to consumers. Its recent venture with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) in developing blockchain prototypes for more efficient inter-bank payments would also benefit all stakeholders looking to ride on the FinTech wave, including in the spheres of cybersecurity, payment gateways and digital currencies. With MAS continuing the drive to establish a thriving FinTech ecosystem, investment in this sector should remain relatively steady in 2018.


Legal Technology (LegalTech)

Consider a reality where legal contracts are enforced by machines; or a world where 'intelligent legal assistants' provide real-time updates on case law and legislation from jurisdictions worldwide. From America to Asia, start-ups and law firms have jumped on the bandwagon, transforming access to legal developments and services.

Dentons recently launched Nextlaw Labs and its investment arm Nextlaw Ventures, LegalTech ventures jointly focused on incubating, investing in, developing and deploying new technologies to transform the business and practice of law. Nextlaw Ventures' portfolio of legal technology innovators include ROSS Intelligence, a leading artificial intelligence company that leverages IBM Watson-powered cognitive computing to refine expert legal research and which had secured US$8.7 million in Series A funding in October 2017.

In Singapore, Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) has swung to the rhythm of LegalTech, with the official launch of the Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) in January 2018. Not only does FLIP aim to encourage innovation in Singapore's legal practice, the launch of its FLIP Accelerator (touted as South East Asia's first LegalTech accelerator program) will boost the growth and development of LegalTech start-ups in the region. Dentons Rodyk is a featured international law firm participant - in line with our strategy of redefining the client experience and leveraging technology to promote seamless collaboration.

Property Technology (PropTech)

Reports show that investment in PropTech has been steadily rising on a global scale, and that in recent years PropTech start-ups in Asia-Pacific have secured more investments that their American and European counterparts (close to US$5 billion in funding since 2013). In addition to PropTech that is developed primarily for consumers (such as property portals with virtual-reality tours, data analytics and market research), blockchain technology has already been adopted by some countries for their land registriesDedicated funds that have been set up by various property and construction groups in Singapore to invest exclusively in start-ups in the PropTech vertical are also indicative of PropTech's growing prospects.

Deep Technology (DeepTech)

DeepTech start-ups focus on developing technology based on unique scientific and/or engineering innovation and are built around intellectual property that is proprietary or hard to replicate, compared to the ubiquitous consumer technology companies that rely mainly on existing technology. While consumer technology companies continue to expand, the potential for unabated growth is theoretically limited by technology that is only available today as well as the risk of market saturation.

Investors are looking to DeepTech start-ups as an alternative. Amongst various other initiatives, SGInnovate, a Singapore government-owned innovation platform, unveiled late last year its "Deep Tech Nexus" Strategy for 2018 to develop the DeepTech ecosystem in Singapore, with a focus on three technology areas: (i) artificial intelligence; (ii) blockchain; and (iii) medical technology (discussed below).

Medical Technology (MedTech)

The interplay of technological advances, aging populations and vast areas of unmet medical needs in many Asian countries herald a new era of MedTech start-ups, and Singapore has been identified as being well-positioned to act as a gateway to tap into the MedTech industry in the region. A recent boost for MedTech start-ups and emerging growth companies was provided in June 2017 when the Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) and ETPL, the commercialisation arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), signed a two-year memorandum of understanding, making it more accessible for MedTech companies to tap on innovative technologies and access growth capital from private and public capital markets to grow their businesses.


VC and private equity investment in South East Asia have been on a upward trend in recent years as funding in Asian companies continue to increase globally, according to public reports. In light of the developments and technology trends discussed above, we believe there will be ample opportunities in Singapore as well as the region.

Dentons Rodyk acknowledges and thanks Xuan Rong Liow for her contribution to the article.

Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways. Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons' global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national and global needs of private and public clients of any size in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
24 Jan 2018, Seminar, San Francisco, United States

Dentons will host our Fourth Annual Courageous Counsel Leadership Institute in January, centered on the theme "Cultivating Innovation."

24 Jan 2018, Seminar, New York, United States

Dentons will host our Fourth Annual Courageous Counsel Leadership Institute in January, centered on the theme "Cultivating Innovation."

31 Jan 2018, Seminar, Singapore, Singapore

Dentons Rodyk Academy is pleased to present a series of Breakfast Seminars covering various domains of IP, IP in tax planning, as well as Data Privacy.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions