Finian Tan’s first headline investment came back in 2000 when he saw the potential in a small Chinese startup which at that time had no revenue and just one customer. The startup was future search giant Baidu, and Tan’s $7.5 million investment bought his then employer Draper Fisher Jurvetson a 25% share in what quickly became a billion-dollar business.
Tan is now cofounder and chairman of Vickers Venture Partners, one of Asia Pacific’s top VC performers. The company, established in 2005, has been a highly active investor in Singapore and beyond, with an emphasis on deep-tech companies in areas such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and AI.
One of Tan’s most recent investments was UK-based biotech company Emergex, which is involved in developing vaccines for COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases. Vickers joined the $11 million Series A funding, with Tan joining the Energex board as nonexecutive director.
Earlier this year, Vickers announced that it had raised $200 million for its $500 million fund, which has a portfolio of 11 companies. It is the sixth fund managed by the firm.
“We are the only deep-tech-focused VC firms based in Southeast Asia,” Tan tells Business Insider. “Investing in deep tech helps investors to see the future and use the knowledge gleaned to inform other investments in their portfolio. The next decade, or beyond, will be defined by the technologies being developed today.”