Sharon Sim has a purpose: to make meaningful change in the world. How? By investing in early-stage tech companies making a social or environmental impact.
“I’ve come to realise that the monetary reward is one thing, however, to see someone succeed in their dreams and be a part of it? It’s very emotionally fulfilling and something that I personally want to continue doing for the rest of my life,” says Sim, who has more than 20 years of experience in capital markets and wealth management.
Sim is financing fresh ideas through her latest enterprise, Purpose Venture Capital, cofounded with growth and philanthropy advisor Von Leong and venture capitalist Sertac Yeltekin in late 2020.
“There's a lot of power in combining people, purpose, and technology. We’re trying to find the intersection of these three very big driving forces,” she says. “I think investing in the right teams and technology could have a multiplier effect on society.”
While Purpose Venture Capital spoke with around 50 companies in 2021, it has chosen to invest in only three. This is intentional because the firm takes a hands-on approach that enables it to truly connect with the startup founders.
“We look out for founders that we believe have the right mission and philosophy, and work together with them to grow together," explains Sim. “We want to be very thoughtful and selective of the companies we invest in.” For instance, their first investment was in ZumVet, an online pet health care service company whose female founders bring complementary skill sets: a doctor by training and a tech entrepreneur.
Sim also helms a Singapore-based multifamily office, which she founded in 2019 and is currently undergoing restructuring, with a refresh to be unveiled in 2022. The multihyphenate foresees that Singapore will reach the goal of becoming a family office hub.
“In the last two years, we’ve seen a huge spike in families enquiring about setting up proper family offices in Singapore,” she says. “The number of millionaires and billionaires in Asia has been on a very strong trajectory of growth. There’s also a lot of newly-created wealth; these are tech companies and new industries—ones that were not around, say, 20 years ago—that have done phenomenally well.”
Below, Sim shares more insights on family offices in Asia, as well as her journey as an investor and how women are playing a greater role in the finance industry.
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