ZDNet reported that SGInnovate has issued a call for Australian investors to join its cause to work with scientists and grow the Deep Tech space. Speaking at D61+ Live in Sydney this week, SGInnovate founding CEO Steve Leonard shared that while consumer tech is solving problems of convenience, Deep Tech such as MedTech, AI and Quantum Computing amongst others can solve big challenges faced by humanity. Since its launch in 2016, the organisation has backed more than 70 local and foreign startups, equivalent to approximately S$40 million. Some companies that have received backing from SGInnovate include Taiger, AIDA technologies, and Melbourne-based See-Mode. Steve also noted that while investments made have been based on market-led trends and knowing that tangible use cases can be delivered, SGInnovate has also avoided unicorns because it could ‘take the organisation off the important work’.
KrAsia featured an article based on the SGInnovate Insights Paper “Deep Tech Investments: Realising the Potential”, which examined the differences between Deep Tech and general tech, as well as the challenges, risks, and rewards that lie within investments in deep tech. While Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem does not lack research or interest, what it lacks are experienced people with both industry knowledge and supply chain know-how which leads to deep tech research projects stagnating. The absence of a sophisticated Deep Tech investment community in Singapore results in startups resorting to looking overseas for capital, with SEPPURE cited as an example. The void has resulted in the government stepping in, which led to SGInnovate’s founding in 2016 to fund, build and grow Deep Tech in Singapore. The various kinds of top-down support have led to a clutch of startups in the Deep Tech sector and created a global reputation for Singapore.
Silicon Republic reported that Dublin and Boston-based MedTech HealthBeacon has welcomed two new strategic investors, SGInnovate and US firm Manatt, closing its Series A funding round with the company’s total amount raised standing at $15 million. According to Hsien-Hui Tong, Head of Venture Investing at SGInnovate, “Medical non-adherence places a significant burden on healthcare systems. HealthBeacon’s use of smart tools to tackle this global challenge resonates well with SGInnovate’s belief in investing in best-in-class deep tech tackling difficult problems faced around the world.” This investment also marks the first healthcare investment between SGInnovate and Enterprise Ireland.
The Straits Times reported that Reefknot Investments, SGInnovate, Switzerland-based transport and logistics firm Kuehne + Nagel, and supply chain expert Wolfgang Lehmacher signed an MOU yesterday to set up a think-tank to spearhead changes in the supply chain and logistics industry. Mr Kong Wai Wei, a global supply chain director at Starbucks Corporation, is also participating in the initiative as an individual member. Over the next 12 months, the think-tank will focus on key themes such as disruptions resulting from changes in consumer behaviour and the issue of sustainability. According to Pang Heng Soon, Head of Venture Building at SGInnovate, global VC investments in logistics totalled almost S$27.5 million over the past decade, with 80 percent taking place in the “last five years or less”, which presents an opportune time for winners to emerge on both the vendor side (suppliers of technological solutions) as well as on the user side (logistics players that are looking for tech solutions for higher efficiencies and effectiveness).
Deal Street Asia featured an article based on interviews with industry experts and startup founders, including responses from an email interview with Pang Heng Soon, Head of Venture Building at SGInnovate, on the funding struggles that Southeast Asian Deep Tech startups are facing. Although the region is awash with venture money, Deep Tech startups are seeing little of it. To illustrate the laggard of Deep Tech startup growth, the article featured a graph from the SGInnovate Insights paper, “Deep Tech Investments: Realising the potential”, showing that the percentage of Deep Tech startups continue to hover around 5-6 percent for the last 15 years. Heng Soon highlighted that while there are strong and consistent investments from the public sectors in areas like AI, MedTech, Quantum Computing and agrifood tech, he wishes to see a better rate of investments from the VC community. Meanwhile, the lack of risk-on investing among VCs is being filled up by the Singapore Government. Rohit Jha, CEO and co-founder of Transcelestial, said that government-backed agencies like Enterprise SG have shown themselves willing to take early bets. He added that seed investors should lead the rounds, which will make the biggest difference for a Deep Tech company trying to get off the ground.
SCMP featured an article on how Singapore has transformed itself into a regional tech hub. According to Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, the transformation of Singapore is thanks to “enabling conditions”, such as business-friendly policies, a coordinated approach between IHLs with private companies to provide a trained workforce, and a high quality of life to attract globally-mobile entrepreneurs and top-grade talent who can call anywhere home. Singapore has also shifted its focus from a knowledge-based economy in the early 2000s to a focus on deep tech. As part of Singapore’s move into deep tech, the government slated S$19 billion as investment capital to build the country into a global R&D hub, and in 2016 set up SGInnovate to nurture deep tech startups in the country. In March, an additional S$500 million was set aside to expand investments into AI, national supercomputing and robotics programmes, as well as cell therapy and food technology. Today, there is also a deep pool of private capital willing to back startups. Thanks to the government’s matching and co-financing schemes, early VC funds were attracted to Singapore, and that pool of capital is now well-placed to invest in the multibillion-dollar Southeast Asia market.