Daily Briefing: Singapore family office heats up Asia's hedge fund fight; NUS invests $18m in launch of 250 startups

And a Canadian startup aims to aid AI Singapore for Smart City initiatives.

From Bloomberg:

Traders from financial institutions in Singapore and Asia such as GIC and UOB are being poached by family offices to help bring in outside money from hedge fund clients. Tolaram Group, which runs a US$500m family office in Singapore, has joined this trend and hired Liew Han Piow, who used to run the equity derivatives desk at UOB.

"Tolaram plans to convert the portfolio into a hedge fund and accept outside money next year. It’s the first foray into asset management for a family that made its fortune in textiles, consumer goods, and other mostly non-financial businesses.

Family offices that take outside money see several advantages to opening up. For one, fee income helps offset the cost of hiring experienced investment professionals, which can quickly add up. At Tolaram, for example, the payroll now includes ex-Millennium trader Ankit Khandelwal, former Goldmanite Lee Kim Leng, and Liew Han Piow, who used to run the equity derivatives desk at United Overseas Bank Ltd. Other family offices in Asia have recently poached talent from firms including Deutsche Bank AG and GIC Pte., Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund."

Read more here.

From E27:

Canadian software company Element AI teamed up with AI Singapore to help develop AI applications in supply chain and financial services segments for local enterprises.

"The two organisations will collaborate through AISG’s 100 Experiment programme, where both will jointly develop innovative AI products and solutions for the local industry. As part of this collaboration, Element AI will co-locate part of its team together with AI Singapore in the newly-launched innovation4.0 building at NUS.

"'Together with Element AI, we are ready to seize new opportunities that will strengthen AI innovation in Singapore,' said Professor Ho Teck Hua, Executive Chairman of AISG. 'Investment in knowledge transfer and our local talent pool alongside Element AI will foster industry adoption efforts and help drive our Smart Nation initiatives forward.'"

Read more here.

From DealStreetAsia:

The National University of Singapore (NUS) will invest $18m in the launch of 250 deep-technology startups over the next five years. The funds will be channelled through the NUS Graduate Research Innovation Programme (GRIP) which taps on the university’s graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and research staff to build these startups.

"NUS GRIP intends to award up to 50 projects every year. Successful candidates will go through an intensive three-month venture creation programme, involving company veterans and mentors to help the teams identify first markets and build prototypes. Successful teams will be eligible for two $50,000 tranches of investment that will be awarded on merit. The inaugural batch of 25 NUS GRIP students will be selected by October 2018."

Read more here.

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