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Impact fund boosts support for Singapore social enterprise
New investment to allow The Gentle Group to extend food and care solutions to more dysphagic patients
Tom King 9 Jul 2024

Singapore-based private equity and venture capital investment firm Heritas Capital, through its Asia Impact First Fund (AIFF), has led a S$2 million (US$1.48 million) investment into The Gentle Group, a local social enterprise. The investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, SEEDS Capital, has co-invested alongside AIFF.

The Gentle Group provides integrated food solutions and care services for underserved communities with dysphagia, a medical term for swallowing difficulties that can occur due to medical conditions like stroke, degenerative diseases, and head and neck cancer.

It is often associated with malnutrition, dehydration, chest infection and, in some cases, even death. With Asia’s ageing population, the number of individuals with dysphagia continues to grow, with studies indicating that about 15% of the elderly are affected by the condition.

“With this growth funding, The Gentle Group can further extend its integrated food and care solutions to serve the growing needs of more dysphagic patients across Singapore, and possibly also other ageing societies across Asia,” says Chik Wai Chiew, CEO and executive director of Heritas Capital.

The catalytic growth capital will support The Gentle Group in expanding its new central kitchen operations to increase production capacity for texture-modified food solutions.

In collaboration with partners, the company aims to more than triple the current annual number of individuals served, further extending its proven track record of providing integrated food solutions and care services for the underserved dysphagic community.

Launched in 2023 with a first close of over US$20 million and with DBS Foundation as its knowledge partner and DBS, Tsao Family Office and IMC as anchor/co-anchor investors, AIFF is an impact-first fund that provides catalytic capital for innovative and high-potential social enterprises in Asia.

AIFF plans to address significant social and environmental challenges across Asia, focusing on two impact themes – “Improving Lives and Livelihoods” and “Protecting the Environment”.

The fund aims to provide growth capital to 10 to 15 innovative and high-growth social enterprises across Asia with a clear and demonstrated social and/or environmental impact, and viable business growth plans, to scale their double bottom line of impact and financial profitability.

Heritas Capital, SEEDS Capital, and DBS Foundation have been early backers of The Gentle Group. Heritas Capital and SEEDS Capital provided initial seed funding in 2020; DBS Foundation and Heritas Cares have supported the company with philanthropic grant funding and mentorship since 2021.

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