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30 Most Inspiring Leaders to Watch 2021

Solving the World’s Environmental Challenges and Building Stronger Communities all while Delivering Attractive Risk-Adjusted Returns to its Investment Partners: TRIREC Holding Pte Ltd

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“We support all investors to join us in this critical journey to make a difference in climate change.”

TRIREC Holding Pte Ltd is an investment holding company with a key focus on decarbonization, clean technology, and sustainability. It aims to identify suitable equity investment opportunities in early and growth-stage companies, which can potentially provide both significant long-term upside return performance while achieving a sustainable and positive impact on the environment.

Currently, TRIREC has 14 portfolio companies across a broad range of industry sectors worldwide.

The company was incorporated in 2014 and is based in Singapore.

To highlight and further understand what TRIREC stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with Melvyn Yeo and Lawrence Wu, who co-founded the company.

Below is an excerpt.

Q. Lawrence, tell us about your investment management system. How do you maintain the value growth?

In an ideal world, all our firm’s investments would be winners. But the world isn’t ideal; even with the best management, the odds of failure for any individual company are high. That is why we are in the game of home runs, not averages. The practice of choosing which startups to invest in is both an art and a science, and as such no definitive playbook can be laid out. By this, we mean that when assembling a portfolio, we source for exceptional, high-performance teams via a robust investment selection and evaluation process. To do so, we have to have extensive reach across regional financial markets, seeking out breakthrough technologies and establishing a skin-in-the-game partnership in our investments.

Q. How can an investor diversify his portfolio, Melvyn?

During this adolescent period of high and accelerating growth, it can be hard to distinguish the eventual winners from the losers. This makes diversification quintessential for us because, unlike other asset classes, a major part of the expected returns in the venture capital asset class might come from a handful of investments. The sizing of each investment and the structuring of the transaction terms are also critical and often overlooked in risk management.

While exposure to all sectors is not necessary, investors should focus on holding a variety of high-quality investments. In TRIREC’s case, we allocate our capital across five verticals in the decarbonization theme, namely – Buildings, Mobility, Agriculture, Industrials, and Energy. Thereby, increasing our ability to invest in more deals per dollar of invested amount from a portfolio perspective. 

“Through our decarbonization mandate, we allocate smart capital to exceptional entrepreneurs globally to provide them with early-stage growth equity, and partner with these companies in restoring our natural environment.”

Q. How flexible are your services, Lawrence? Can smaller investors make use of your services?

Melvyn and I are entrepreneurs ourselves and we empathize deeply with these battle-hardened entrepreneurs.

TRIREC is built on the desire to see the regional ecosystem grow and be a significant contributor to economic opportunity and growth for the next generation. Even if there is no angle for investment, we look forward to providing shared value from a blend of knowledge transfer as well as facilitating introductions to our network contacts in the most impactful way.

As VCs, we play an integral role as a catalyst in driving the ecosystem, and it is imperative that we take part in this community to increase the level of knowledge and support investments in the region. We support all investors to join us in this critical journey to make a difference in climate change.

Q. How do you generally deal with risks involved in renewable energy and clean technology investment, Melvyn?

TRIREC has a curated due diligence process to analyze the human psychology, technical, strategic, legal, and commercial considerations of potential investments. To mitigate risk in the decarbonization space, we are keenly cognizant of roadblocks and research to develop a holistic understanding of the company of aspects that could prevent its success and capitalize on its strengths. 

Renewable energy companies are often supported by government policies that recognize the environmental benefits of clean energy generation. It is key to understand the commercial market and relevant regulatory framework as a potential risk – or opportunity – associated with the investment. Considering how foreseeable or unforeseeable the market moves; it may affect the performance and viability of these investments in the long term.

TRIREC through the experiences of its founders and also since its founding, our team has developed deep knowledge in the industries that we focus our efforts in. It allows us to map out the ecosystem and identify the future trends ahead.

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Q. Lawrence, how do you protect the interest of the investors? Brief us about your asset management system.

Our key stakeholders are the investors who place their trust and faith in TRIREC as custodians of their assets. The mindset that TRIREC adopts when managing their assets is always the same: to give our investors ample downside protection and a favorable position for additional investment returns. Our fund is structured to provide our partners a suitable return and the real upside lies in the appreciation of the general portfolio performance. Fortunately, many of our investors share an aligned interest and are supportive of TRIREC’s mission.

Investor updates, like all stakeholder communications, are not just a responsibility but also an opportunity to connect and be in the loop of underlying matters. TRIREC takes on a more proactive stance to these updates but also diligently provides timely updates to our shareholders through quarterly reports and newsletters. As we have been entrusted with their capital, we should be held accountable through these processes.

Q. Melvyn, do you have any new services ready to be launched?

TRIREC is built on the desire to see the decarbonization ecosystem grow and be a significant contributor to economic opportunity for the next generation. As more intellectual and entrepreneurial capital gravitates towards decarbonization endeavors, TRIREC is seeing many more interesting start-ups with strong business models and solutions, and we aim to be at the forefront of the curve.

From humble beginnings, TRIREC’s Fund-I started in 2015, and most recently, two of our portfolio companies have achieved unicorn status and with some luck, we hope to welcome one to two more to the esteemed club in the future. More recently, as we witness a new wave of climate-related dealmakers bolstered by a confluence of recent decarbonization, we are raising more than US$100 million in our latest fund to lead more investments in global startups from the Pre-series A to Series B stage.

Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers, Melvyn? Are exciting things on the way?

We are dedicated to increasing our visibility within the ecosystems, and as our team is growing, we are in talks to expand our strategic plans globally. In the mid-term, we will have a presence in the US and China to keep our finger on the pulse – on our portfolio companies as well as capitalize on any opportunities that present themselves.

While currently focusing on the fundraising for our latest investment fund and investing in exciting startups, over the coming years, we intend to launch private investment vehicles and a charitable foundation that will create viable funding pathways to support budding ideas and enterprising founders from seeds of thought to full capital maturity. This will fulfill our vision of “powering big ideas of today for a better, more sustainable tomorrow.”

Leadership | TRIREC Holding Pte Ltd

TRIREC was established in 2014 by co-founders Melvyn Yeo and Lawrence Wu. Both Melvyn and Lawrence had spent over a decade as investment bankers at bulge bracket global financial institutions before embarking on their separate successful entrepreneurial journeys and built respective businesses that became the leaders in the industries they were in and have also had successful exits.

Under the guidance of Melvyn and Lawrence, TRIREC is entrepreneurial at heart, collaborative in nature operates with integrity in a high-performance culture that continuously challenges them to be forward-thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators to solve the hardest issue in our generation: climate change.

“We look forward to providing shared value from a blend of knowledge transfer as well as facilitating introductions to our network contacts in the most impactful way.”

“We have to have extensive reach across regional financial markets, seeking out breakthrough technologies and establishing a skin-in-the-game partnership in our investments.”