Established in 2003 in Singapore, Upstream Ventures focuses on early-stage venture creation by providing funding, expertise and networks to emerging companies across Singapore, India and China.

About Upstream

Established in 2003 in Singapore, Upstream Ventures focuses on early-stage venture creation by providing funding, expertise and networks to emerging companies across Singapore, India and China.

We back outstanding teams that have the vision and discipline to build high-growth enterprises targeting Asian and global markets in sectors such as security & biometrics, Internet, IT software & solutions, IDM (interactive digital media) and semiconductors.

Our operationally-experienced team engages early in the life of a company where we can most effectively accelerate growth. We build strong and reliable management teams, work closely with our companies to develop and execute strategies, and provide access to key players, markets and capital through our strong industrial and financial networks.


Upstream Ventures typically targets Sinagpore-based early stage companies with significant regional market opportunities. Singapore is the ideal test-bed for innovation, offering startups many advantages over neighbouring countries, including:

  • Advanced research facilities, universities & incubators
  • Strong IP protection
  • Sector-specific funding schemes & investment tax incentives
  • World-class infrastructure
  • Efficient legal system
  • High standards of corporate governance & transparency

In order to evolve into great growth companies, startups must develop sustainable recurring revenue streams and demonstrate scalability quickly. Upstream accelerates access to new markets and capital by leveraging our network in the region’s larger markets such as India and China.

Upstream Ventures assumes the role of lead investor in early stage companies, typically investing up to a maximum of $3M per company as part of a Startup or Series A round of funding. We are also keen to co-invest with other investors to ensure the company raises adequate funding to meet its growth needs. We continuously work with portfolio companies to optimize their financial strategy and strive to maintain our role as lead investor as the company moves toward subsequent rounds of funding.

Upstream invests in knowledge-intensive companies with scalable solutions and services built on underlying proprietary core technologies. We look for teams with a proven track record that have the potential to create global leaders in high-growth sectors such as: Internet (enterprise, consumer, retail), IDM (interactive digital media), mobile & wireless (applications & services), security & biometrics, and semiconductors (fabless design).

Investment Criteria

Upstream Ventures assesses the suitability of investment opportunities based on the following criteria:

Strong & Committed Management Team

A focused, aligned management team with the discipline to execute is central to any venture’s success. We look closely at the team’s track record and experience in relevant areas. Complementary expertise is essential, and we work with teams to identify and fill the gaps across all levels of the organisation. We like teams that have the flexibility and agility to adapt quickly to changes in the market. Innovation & Value Proposition The company should demonstrate innovative products, services or business models that fulfill significant unmet demand while creating long-term competitive advantage. Proprietary intellectual property and competitive strategies are fundamental to creating sustainable barriers to entry. Scalable Market Opportunity Singapore is a great place to start, but companies must look to regional and global markets for true scale. Companies should target high-growth markets that are large enough to provide immediate revenue opportunities, and support the expected scale of the business. Sales & Marketing We love sales-oriented companies that deploy smart channel strategies to reach target markets quickly and effectively. Business Models & Financials The business must demonstrate sustainable recurring revenues quickly whilst applying a conservative approach to the use of funds. It is essential that realistic, achievable projections be in line with the company’s stage of growth. Viable Exit Opportunity We seek companies that can provide high return multiples within a 3- to 5-year time frame. Exits can be through a strategic sale or an initial public offering.

Loudon Owen
Co-founder, McLean Watson Capital
Loudon Owen is co-founder of McLean Watson Capital. Prior to establishing McLean Watson Capital, Loudon and his partner financed and advised Softimage, a world leader in high-end 3D animation, through its growth from 4 to 250 employees, its IPO on Nasdaq in 1992, and its sale to Microsoft in 1994. Prior to that, Loudon practised corporate/commercial and securities law with a major Canadian law firm, concentrating on M&A and technology financing. He subsequently founded a corporate law firm that specialized in representing growth companies. He has served on the Boards of a range of public companies, including BPI Mutual Funds, Brookfield/BF Realty and Softimage. Loudon currently serves on the Boards of Directors of i4i, Vismand Exploration, Amplus, Ntegrator and Quantec. His pro bono activities include serving on several non-profit boards and associations. Loudon holds a BA from the University of Toronto, an LLB from Osgoode Hall, Toronto and an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.

David E. Wynne
Excecutive VP, Zecotek Medical Systems Pte. Ltd.
Mr. Wynne, COO Singapore and Executive VP Imaging for Zecotek Medical Systems Pte. Ltd., a leading bio-photonics company, has over twenty-five years experience in international business development, venture capital, finance and operations. He was COO and CBO at MerLion Pharmaceuticals, a leading Singapore-based drug discovery company which he helped found in 2001. Previously he was Senior Vice President and a Board representative of Transpac Capital, one of Asia's oldest and largest venture capital companies. Before entering the private sector he served as a senior diplomat for Canada in Korea, Japan and Singapore, and in APEC where he served as Canada's representative to the APEC Budget and Administration Committee and as the Canadian Deputy Chair of the APEC Economic Committee. He was a co-founder of the Canadian software company Greenbook, which produced one of the first hypertext authoring tools for the Internet. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada and a Master of Arts in Public Administration & Economics from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Mr. Wynne served several years on the Executive Committee of the Singapore Venture Capital Association and was recently re-elected to the Executive Council of the Singapore Biotech Association.

Sean Tang
Advisor, Upstream Ventures


Upstream Ventures' global network is an essential ingredient to the success of our ventures, as it extends the scope of resources available to the company across all stages of its lifecycle. Our network spans Asia, Europe and the USA, and includes organisations of the highest caliber across academia, research institutes & incubators, professional associations, financial institutions and multinationals. Some of our key relationships include:

Since 1988, CEFRIEL (Milan, Italy) has been a major center for innovation in the field of Information and Communication Technology. With its research, innovation and education activities CEFRIEL conceives, develops and transfers new ICT paradigms to industries and public organizations. CEFRIEL crafts innovative solutions by leveraging a unique combination of multidisciplinary competences that go even beyond the pure ICT domain to embrace Design, Urban Mobility, Energy and Environment. With a human capital of 130 full-time professionals and the contribution of more than 100 academics, industrial residents and post-graduate students, CEFRIEL is a reference body of knowledge in Europe.

China Business Angel Network
China Business Angel Network (CBAN) was established in December 2007 by a group of angel investors based in Beijing, China in order to bring an alternative source of funding, business expertise and ‘hands-on’ assistance to promising early stage companies in China. CBAN aspires to be the first organised angel investors network in China.

CBAN members actively participate at CBAN’s activities, be it in generating deal flow, or screening business plans, or participating at start-up presentation events. CBAN members invest individually, at their discretion, when and where they choose. CBAN activities include monthly start-up presentation events; the start-ups are selected by CBAN’s Screening Committee from the pool of business plans that are being submitted to CBAN by the various entrepreneurs. CBAN is affiliated and has an active collaboration with the Business Angel Network South-East Asia (BANSEA).

Expara is a venture creation company founded in Singapore in 2003. Expara develops and teaches entrepreneurship and innovation through experiential-exercise-based learning programs for entrepreneurs, start-ups, companies and public institutions in Asia. Expara's mission is help build scalable value-innovation-driven ventures.

- Expara IDM Ventures: Expara manages a virtual business accelerator under the Singapore MDA’s iJam Programme, providing pre-seed investments and advisory services for start-ups with breakthrough ideas in the interactive and digital media space.

- Expara publishes the following useful guide with support from the Singapore Media Development Authority: Media Entrepreneurs Guide to Singapore

Extream Ventures
Established in 2009 in Singapore, Extream Ventures is a VC fund focused on early-stage venture creation by providing funding, expertise and networks to emerging technology companies in Singapore. We back outstanding teams that have the vision and discipline to build high-growth enterprises targeting Asian and global markets in sectors such as communications, Internet, IT software & solutions, IDM and semiconductors.

Extream’s operationally-focused team is committed to driving value by working closely with each new venture to accelerate growth and market leadership. The versatility of our hands-on approach is a result of the team’s diverse yet complementary mix of start-up, corporate and international business expertise.The team has been investing in early-stage companies in Singapore for over 8 years. Extream Ventures is funded in part by the Singapore Government's National Research Foundation.

As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas from around the world to change lives and transform organizations. The unique global perspective and multicultural diversity of INSEAD are reflected in all aspects of its research and teaching. Currently, at the school’s two comprehensive and fully connected campuses in Asia (Singapore) and Europe (France), faculty conduct leading edge research projects with the support of 12 Centres of Excellence. The INSEAD-Wharton Alliance extends the reach of INSEAD business education and research across three continents.

Media Development Authority (MDA)
The Media Development Authority (MDA) has been created to focus on and develop the media industry, putting Singapore at the forefront of the media age. The MDA has a dual-function role that contributes to developing Singapore into a vibrant global media city as well as a creative economy and a connected society. The first is to promote the growth of the media industry. The second is to manage content to protect core values and safeguard consumers' interests. The raison d'etre of the MDA is to develop Singapore into a vibrant global city so as to foster a creative economy and connected society.

Mentor Partners
Mentor Partners (Bangalore, India) helps turn ideas into successful companies. By building an ecosystem around the Indian entrepreneur, Mentor Partners nurtures young companies and brings them to the world stage. Mentor Partners brings the knowledge of how to build product/IP based technology companies, as well as access to financing and customers, to young entrepreneurs.

Microsoft BizSpark
BizSpark is an innovative new program that unites startups with global entrepreneurial and technology resource in one community, with a common goal of supporting and accelerating the success of a new generation of high-potential Startups. BizSpark is uniquely designed to help Startups engaged in software development to jump-start their business, by:

- Providing them with “express access” to Microsoft tools and technologies, for their immediate use in design, development, testing, demonstration, and hosted application production and deployment; and
- Connecting them with Network Partners and a united, global community of resources designed to support them.

Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)
The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) is the lead agency that plans and executes strategies to sustain Singapore as a compelling global hub for business and investment. Set up in 1961, EDB acts as catalyst and facilitator to nurture a vibrant, self-sustaining enterprise ecosystem, creating a conducive environment for startups and companies of all sizes. The Board works closely with other agencies to promote innovation and develop human, intellectual, financial and cultural capital in Singapore.

Start-up Enterprise Development Scheme (SEEDS)

Launched in 2001, the Startup Enterprise Development Scheme (SEEDS) is an S$80 million equity finance fund for startups and new businesses. Funds are matched with investments made by third party investors. The program has funded over 150 companies spanning a wide spectrum of industries including IT, biotechnology, electronics and e-commerce, media and communications, and nanotechnology. The SEEDS Partner Initiative aims to strengthen the working arrangements with co-investors, to respond to opportunities efficiently and nurture investee companies more effectively. Upstream Ventures was named a SEEDS Partner in October 2003.

Torino Wireless
Torino Wireless (Torino, Italy) was established in December 2003 under a funding agreement from the Italian Government and a variety of public and private organisations, including Fiat, Motorola and Telecom Italia. It aims to coordinate and foster the ICT contribution of the regional economy, positioning the Piemonte Region as the most innovative ICT cluster at an international level. Torino Wireless, together with Ersel, is the promoter of Innogest Capital, one of the largest early stage funds in Italy dedicated to enterprises with high growth potential.

Contact Us

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