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Taronga Ventures Collaborates With Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab Led by CapitaLand

Taronga Ventures’ fund has made a number of strategic investments aligned with the lab’s focus such as digital  wellness, intelligent estates, smart mobility, sustainability, and urban agriculture.



Taronga Ventures’ extensive real estate experience and network across Asia, coupled with its innovation investment capabilities

Taronga Ventures, Asia’s leading real estate innovation and technology investment platform, will collaborate with the recently opened Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab led by  CapitaLand. With its network of emerging technology companies focused on real estate and the wider built environment, Taronga Ventures will also introduce these partners to the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab. 

Officially opened by Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S Iswaran on 28 October 2020, the  Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab is initiated by CapitaLand and supported by the Infocomm Media  Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore to bring together leaders in the smart cities space to co-create and test innovations with local built environment and technology enterprises in a live environment at  CapitaLand’s 5G-enabled Singapore Science Park. 

Taronga Ventures’ extensive real estate experience and network across Asia, coupled with its innovation investment capabilities, has put it at the forefront of supporting major real estate owners and operators who  are looking to: expand their platforms, identify new revenue streams, reduce costs and operate more sustainably. Through its venture capital fund and innovation platform, the group is supporting global emerging technology companies with access to capital, customers, and growth opportunities.  

Taronga Ventures Co-Founder, Avi Naidu, who is relocating to Singapore, said the built environment was experiencing unprecedented change globally. “Structural adjustments to the way real estate operates, and is  consumed, have accelerated due to major shifts in consumer behaviour, rapid evolutions in technology, and,  most recently, global market shocks that will have an enduring effect. This partnership with CapitaLand-led  Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab further extends the Taronga Ventures’ reach across multiple markets in Asia, 

to quickly identify and execute on opportunities, allowing our institutional partners to adopt innovations earlier and deliver greater value to their customers, communities and capital.” 

Taronga Ventures Co-Founder, Jonathan Hannam, said that the partnership with the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab was a critical component to support the ecosystem. “Having worked and lived in Singapore for  many years we understand the relevance of a strong regional partner with the calibre of CapitaLand. Singapore  is already recognised as a sophisticated international city with a focus on innovation and efficiency – many of  our existing investments are already entering the market and looking to use Singapore as a base to grow into  Asia.” 

Mr Aylwin Tan, Chief Customer Solutions Officer, CapitaLand Group, said: “In just a few months of operations,  the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab has brought together various ecosystem players to support Singapore’s  drive towards building a smart city. We are excited to have Taronga Ventures as our latest partner to  strengthen this network, providing their expertise as a specialist investor and bringing more technology  companies to co-innovate with us.” 

Selection of Taronga Ventures investments growing in Asia 

Taronga Ventures’ fund has made a number of strategic investments aligned with the lab’s focus such as digital  wellness, intelligent estates, smart mobility, sustainability, and urban agriculture – examples include:  

  • CarbonCure is a Canadian company that introduces recycled CO2 into fresh concrete to reduce its  carbon footprint without compromising performance. Once injected, the CO2 undergoes a  mineralization process and becomes permanently embedded, while increasing the concrete’s  compressive strength. Backed by Microsoft’s and Amazon’s sustainability funds, Break Through  Energy Ventures and Taronga Ventures, CarbonCure is now looking to expand into Asia through  Singapore. Robert Niven CEO of CarbonCure said “Singapore is the ideal market for us to expand  into South East Asia and beyond and we will be working with our local partners Siam Cement and  Taronga Ventures to bring CarbonCure to Asia.”
  • Switch Automation is a US software company that analyses and manages operational systems in  commercial properties at scale. Switch Automation has been deployed globally in nearly 3,000  buildings and is now expanding into Asia. According to Deb Noller, CEO of Switch Automation, Taronga’s support for Switch’s move into Singapore has been invaluable. “The Taronga team has  directly introduced us to more than 15 large institutional real estate firms in Asia. We were also  introduced to major Singapore government linked entities such as IMDA, ESG, BCA and EDB. We are  now hiring in Singapore and are refocusing on this market as the next leg of our growth strategy.” 
  • With OpenSpace out of San Francisco, Taronga Ventures has invested in a US $16m round with Menlo  Ventures, Lux Capital, Tishman Speyer, Navitas and JLL Spark in a technology solution that helps to  monitor construction projects using 3D image visualization, analytics and artificial intelligence.  Construction managers simply walk the site and the technology records the level of construction and  directly compares that to digital models. Jeevan Kalanithi, Founder and Managing Director of  OpenSpace commented “As a fast-growing US-based company, OpenSpace is thrilled to have  Taronga Ventures as an investor and partner as we expand into the Asia Pacific region. The team has  been generous in sharing their time and extensive regional networks to open-up executive-level relationships that have resulted in significant project opportunities. Taronga’s perspective, as the  leading strategic investor in real estate technology in Asia has been invaluable.” 

Another business expanding into Singapore is Ynomia, an Australian technology company that has  expanded into the United States with major US investors coming on board. The technology  incorporates a cost effective, Bluetooth low-energy sensor to track machinery, materials and  manpower on a construction site in real time. Co-Founder Matthew Barbuto commented “We met  the team from Taronga Ventures in 2018 at an early stage of our product commercialisation.

The team  was instrumental in educating our team on the dynamics of the real estate sector and  generously opening up their relationship networks to senior and executive level decision makers in  key organisations. Significantly, these warm introductions have led to the Ynomia team winning  flagship projects with major real estate corporates in Australia, the United States and now in Asia. Taronga’s ability to provide flexible guidance in strategic, commercial, financial and sector specific  ways is a truly unique asset for their portfolio companies.”

ALSO READ: Dubai Land Department Records 3,395 Sales Transactions Worth Dh6.93 Billion In October 2020

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