The Business Times

Expert network firm Sealed Network bags funding from Quest Ventures, notable angels

Published Wed, Dec 8, 2021 · 08:00 AM

SEALED Network, a matchmaking network connecting investors and industry informants, has raised an undisclosed amount in a funding round led by Quest Ventures. Quest Ventures, which counts Temasek’s Pavilion Capital and Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund subsidiary QazTech Ventures as its investors, has also backed other startups including Carro, Carousell and ShopBack.

Joining its pre-series A funding round was chairman of Food Empire Tan Wang Cheow, Soilbuild's director Lim Han Feng, as well as Google, Twitter and Alibaba angel group XA Network and South-east Asia McKinsey alumni group Alumni & Angels.

Existing investors include Koh Boon Hwee and Far East Ventures, the venture capital arm of Far East Organization. Former member of parliament Sin Boon Ann is one of the firm's close advisers.

These investors will be "instrumental" in helping the company expand its expert network and grow the business, said Benjamin Emmanuel Lee, co-founder and chief executive of Sealed Network.

SEE ALSO: Expert networks: the matchmakers behind mega-investment deals

At the Singapore-based company, the sales pitch is simple: investors speak to those on the ground to get the whole picture, and these insiders in Sealed's network are paid handsomely. The network has about 35,000 "experts", the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Some of these subject-matter "experts" on its platform include Michael Tay, Singapore's ambassador to Russia, and Charles Yong, previous senior client partner at Korn Ferry.

Sealed's experts from 25 industries bring "unparalleled local expertise, enabling new South-east Asia entrant businesses to better navigate a diverse but economically promising region", said Jeffrey Seah, partner at Quest Ventures.

Fresh funds will be used to fuel regional expansion by expanding its pool of industry informants and investing in internal search technology and platform development.

The funding comes as more investors - beyond typical hedge fund clients - look to the global expert network industry to conduct primary research before they invest.

Established firms in the space are also looking to go public. US-based Gerson Lehrman Group has filed for a US listing, while China-focused Capvision has plans for a US$300 million listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The reputation of the expert network industry took a battering a decade ago following an insider-trading scandal that landed some US hedge fund clients in jail. Sealed Network is betting that years of compliance and trust-building, coupled with the rise of investment opportunities in South-east Asia, could encourage a renewed appetite for such network platforms again.

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