MyRepublic gets $52m as Singapore’s billion-dollar IP fund makes first investment

Original Story from TechinAsia

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Makara Innovation Fund (MIF) has invested US$51.8 million in telecom network MyRepublic, marking the fund’s first publicly announced investment.

The funding will “supercharge” the development of MyRepublic’s proprietary cloud platform, as well as support its “aggressive” plan to expand its regional footprint and deliver more services, said CEO Malcolm Rodrigues in a statement.

A partnership between the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and private equity firm Makara Capital, MIF was launched in April with a S$1 billion raise target.

It aims to invest in “high-growth companies with strong IP [intellectual property] and proven business models.” These include later-stage startups and established businesses from Singapore and elsewhere that demonstrate a “strong pan-Asian growth trajectory.”

In the statement, MIF said that in addition to its positive assessment of MyRepublic’s growth fundamentals and business model, its investment decision was supported by an evaluation of the startup’s IP portfolio. This was carried out by IP ValueLab, the enterprise engagement arm of IPOS.

Rodrigues said in July that MyRepublic aims to IPO next year, and would seek to raise around US$73 million funding in the interim.

The current funding round is still ongoing, with MyRepublic today saying it expects to ultimately raise up to US$110 million, at an eventual valuation of around US$480 million. The injection from MIF makes up a big chunk of that, with more investors to be announced at a later stage. Rodrigues said the company is pushing ahead with its IPO plans, targeting to go public within the next 18 months.

Rodrigues revealed MyRepublic’s intention to IPO after its failed bid to secure Singapore’s fourth telco license in 2016.

After Australia’s TPG won the auction, MyRepublic was reportedly interested in acquiring existing license holder M1.

That deal never materialized, with Rodrigues dismissing the rumors and M1’s owners eventually taking the firm off the market.

Instead, MyRepublic planned to unveil its own mobile virtual network, offering mobile phone plans through partner networks – a setup similar to Singapore-based Circles.Life. The product was expected to launch in October. Rodrigues told Tech in Asia the project is still ongoing, but the company is working to launch it almost simultaneously across Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia. “I think the only shift is we decided to launch mobile in all our markets fairly quickly,” he said.

MyRepublic claims an annualized revenue run rate of US$103 million across markets as of September 2017. Rodrigues told media that the company is “on track” to hit its goals this fiscal year.

What are IP commercialization and monetization?

MIF’s formation came hot on the heels of the Singaporean government’s Committee on the Future Economy report and its 2017 budget, which identified the commercialization and monetization of IP as key to the country’s development.

IP includes trademarks, patents, and copyright, which give their holders varying exclusive legal rights to brands, inventions, and creative works, respectively…

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