Singapore sovereign fund Temasek takes stake in tech events firm Unbound
Media exits happen, but typically you don’t hear of tech events companies being sold. Well, that’s the case in Singapore where SingEx — a subsidiary of the country’s Temasek sovereign wealth fund — has forked out to buy a majority share in Unbound Innovations, a five-year-old UK-based business that runs technology events worldwide.
Details of the transaction were not made public, but TechCrunch understands from a source that SingEx bought a majority share in Unbound in a deal that values the company at £18 million, or around $23.5 million. A second source explained that the deal is akin to a joint venture, which roughly splits the company in half between Unbound and SingEx. In that case, the original investment from SingEx would be around the $12 million mark.
Unbound has been around since 2013 but it seems to have struck out with its Innovfest event series, which has focused on uniting governments with corporates and the startup world. That aside, it has run ‘Unbound’ events in London since 2014 and it works with corporates such as Unilever, HSBC and Accenture on innovation projects.
Indeed, this investment news comes weeks after the conclusion of Unbound’s two-day Singapore-based event, Innovfest Unbound, which claimed to attract over 12,000 attendees. Innovfest began with events in Singapore and Miami last year with a Bahrain debut earlier this year; those two added to the recent event account for over 20,000 attendees, Unbound said.
Coming up next is a London event July, followed by the Miami return later this year and another in Bahrain is planned for 2019. But that’s likely only just the start.
Unbound said that this new capital will go towards doubling its operations and expanding into new verticals and geographies through a mix of acquisition and organic expansion. Right now, there’s no word on what those expansions might look like.
It stands to reason that expanded reach is good for Temasek, too. The fund has a big position on tech within its $275 billion portfolio — which added UST Global via a $250 million deal yesterday — and having a majority stake in Unbound will likely increase its exposure to tech ecosystems, companies and more. Not to mention that the events business is actually pretty lucrative in itself.
Note: The original version of this article was updated to correct an error about the Unbound London events business and add more source-based reporting.