The Business Times Online reported that according to ESG, venture investors have poured S$13.4 billion into local startups in the first three quarters of 2019, a 36 percent increase from 2018. Government efforts spurred deal-making activity, such as the Startup SG Equity scheme, where the government makes co-investments with the private sector into startups in nascent industries. For instance, SEEDS Capital and SGInnovate, both administrators of Startup SG Equity, invested in 56 deals in the first three quarters of 2019. Amid global megatrends such as ageing, urbanisation and climate change, more VC firms are paying attention to deep tech, with S$416.4 million being put into deep tech deals, specifically in advanced manufacturing, urban solutions and sustainability and healthcare and biomedical sciences, marking a 25 percent increase YoY. Committed to growing the deep tech investment scene, ESG and MAS have started conducting deal-making sessions called Deal Fridays, which has seen the generation of over 200 leads through the 15 sessions to date.
The Straits Times featured an article on the front page of its ‘Business’ section, based on an exclusive interview with Steve Leonard on the milestones that SGInnovate has achieved since its inception almost three years ago. Steve shared that SGInnovate has invested $40 million into 70 local and foreign deep tech startups which have gone on to attract $450 million of funding from the market. He added that fewer than 10 percent of the startups that SGInnovate has backed “haven’t made it”, which is in stark contrast to the 90 percent failure rate in general startup statistics. Steve attributed the high survival rate to the “level of seriousness” that these startups have at the outset. Besides nurturing startups, SGInnovate has also built up a 30,000-member deep tech community, with more than 100 people attending each of its 20 events a month.
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).