It’s no secret that Fiona Xie is a woman of many diverse interests. Actress, fashion influencer, and art aficionado, she has lots of things on her resume. But these days, she is first and foremost a businesswoman.
The one-time television starlet – whose popularity soared in the 2000s with leading roles in Channel 8 mandarin sitcom My Genie (2001), and home-grown idol drama, The Champion (2004) – has over the years pursued work in art, fashion, and photography since announcing her retirement from acting in 2009.
Currently, the 40-year-old is focused on helping to grow Singapore-based start-up Treedots as one of its investors. Founded in 2017 as a surplus food marketplace for F&B businesses in Asia, the company has now expanded with a social commerce feature that allows consumers to purchase surplus groceries at up to 90 per cent off retail prices, as well as providing businesses with cold-chain logistics optimisation services to help improve supply chains.
In November last year, it was announced that Treedots had raised a Series A funding round of $11 million, which will go towards investing in its operations in Malaysia and other expansion plans in the region. Led by venture capital firms East Ventures and Amasia, a global firm focused on sustainability and climate solutions, it marked the start-up’s first significant round of seed venture capital funding.
But why Treedots? Fiona explains that she has always been interested in venture capitalism, and “how it helps early-stage businesses to grow and scale”.
“[The investment] resulted from my venture partnership with Amasia. I was interested in Treedots as it is Asia’s first vertically integrated food supply chain ecosystem that’s advancing the sustainable food marketplace in Singapore, and recently, Malaysia,” she adds.
Fiona felt a kindred sense of purpose with the start-up’s philosophy and cause, as sustainability is something she feels very passionate about. “With the escalating climate crisis, and increasing inequality and environmental degradation, sustainable business models are no longer an option, but an imperative. Food security is particularly critical to Singapore where over 90 per cent of our food is imported. I envisage a future where investing sustainably is the norm,” she enthuses.
To further her foray into the world of business, Fiona shares that she has “entered the rabbit hole” of online courses since the start of the pandemic. So far, she has completed a Harvard University leadership programme, among others.
“[I’ve also taken] fascinating ones like Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Evolution Of Money, Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency, global art advisory Metis’ course on art collecting, Sotheby’s Art And Technology From Artificial Intelligence (AI) To Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT), and even a deep fake AI class at the National Gallery. The world is my oyster!” she exclaims.
Sustainable business models are no longer an option but an imperative.