Silicon Straits

Some of you may have learnt about this from my LinkedIn profile changes, but I’d like to begin with an announcement that Neoteny Labs (Pte Ltd) has been renamed to Silicon Straits. Neoteny Labs continues to exist in the form of an offshore Limited Partnership, but Neoteny Labs (Pte Ltd), the Singapore company that was partner to the National Research Foundation Technology Incubation Scheme, has undergone a rebrand.

It’s been three years since I started Neoteny Labs with Joi. Being a young VC in Southeast Asia isn’t easy, but I think I did okay given how lean we ran everything. From May 2010 to 2012, Neoteny Labs’ US$5M fund – raised from 35 investors across 4 continents – invested in 24 startups. Burpple marks the fund’s 24th and final investment. I’m still active on the boards of InsyncTripVillas, Impulseflyer and Burpple, but we’ll no longer be making new investments out of the fund. I gave Neoteny Labs my all and more, and learnt a ton while I was at it. I will continue to keep the lights on at Neoteny Labs and work with Joi to maintain Neoteny Labs’ portfolio via Silicon Straits, but am also in a position to pursue other opportunities and work with new partners under the Silicon Straits auspice.

I will be eternally grateful to the serendipity that has intertwined Joi’s and my life for the past 3 years. I’m happy that he’s since found his tribe at the MIT Media Lab, and understand his excitement at leading its reinvention. I visited the Lab twice in 2012 and was captivated by its antidisciplinary brilliance. Boston and Cambridge are highly livable cities, but in the end, I didn’t feel like I belonged. I’ve spent the first 6 and a half years of my professional life contributing to narratives authored by others, and think that it’s now time for me to start penning narratives of my own.

Dr. Low and his team at the National Research Foundation have graciously re-endorsed Silicon Straits as an approved TIS incubator, which is great news. I’m still kicking the cans around on a couple of fronts and hope to have more to share in 2013, but in the meantime, I’m on the lookout for office space to call home. You’ll probably also see more of me in the cities of Southeast Asia in the new year.

For now, all I have to share is:

Silicon Straits is a tech venture foundry focused on Southeast Asia. We hope to contribute to the growing tech narrative in the region in a big way. We’d love to hear from entrepreneurs, developers, investors, media and neotenous individuals.

It’s intentionally esoteric for now, but I hope for things to become clearer in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, here’s wishing everyone a Merry (and wet) Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.