Pragmatic Speculation: Venture Capital and Risk-Based Culture in Singapore


Luke Heine. Working Paper. “Pragmatic Speculation: Venture Capital and Risk-Based Culture in Singapore.” In . Date Presented: 2016.


Singapore’s historical developmental economy and policies incentivizing rapid growth have imparted a pragmatic culture that has persisted through neoliberal reforms (Liow 2011, Robison et. al 2005). As the country attempts to move to a knowledge based economy (KBE), despite Singapore identifying risk-aversion as a weakness for entrepreneurs within the city state, the country hosts a robust, heavily-subsidized, and comparatively risky venture capital center within Asia (PwC 2015, Garry et al. 2002,  Singapore’s Transition). Has government funding reduced the perceived risk of investment for those venture capitalists receiving government money, making investors behave differently than those in surrounding cities? Or, as Singapore provides a haven for foreign venture capital, are foreign investors actually those primarily making earlier and more tech-driven investments? To answer these questions, I propose research to be conducted this winter in Singapore interviewing investors from three cohorts - government-subsidized domestic venture capital firms, non-subsidized domestic venture capital firms, and internationally headquartered firms - to better understand how venture capital is perceived in Singapore and how the highly-speculative capital has come to flourish in a pragmatic culture.

Last updated on 12/16/2016