(Mar 22): As a 17-year-old trainee bellboy, Kuok Meng Xiong spent a summer opening doors at his family’s Island Shangri-La hotel in Hong Kong. It was here, sweating through back rooms and service corridors, that he started to learn the hard truths of running a business.

Now, after more than 20 years and a career spent helping run the family’s operations across the globe, the grandson of Robert Kuok – the ‘Sugar King of Asia’ who built a US$12.4 billion ($18.0 billion) fortune – is determined to make his own mark; opening doors for start-ups.

Kuok’s family office K3 Ventures (three for third generation) has quietly backed 38 start-ups including China’s Bytedance Inc. and Singapore’s Grab Holdings Inc. Investments are between US$1 million to US$3 million and have returned 43% to date.

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