e27 published a list of the 9 most notable seed funding rounds in August 2019. Logistics and supply chain continued to be a popular theme in 2019 with investments into startups such as AllSome and Logisly. The F&B industry also remained popular with investments into AI Palette, Abillionveg, and Hungry Hub. Ai Palette received US$1 million in seed funding from investors Decacorn Capital, SGInnovate, AgFunder, Entrepreneur First along with other individual investors.
Xinhua Net published an interview with Steve Leonard, founding CEO of SGInnovate, where he shared that AI would be able to solve some of the big problems the world has. According to him, AI should be viewed as a set of tools which are both inevitable and important. Steve pointed out that while there’s a lot of technology focussed on consumer convenience, he believed that we need to be utilising tools such as AI to deal with hard problems and life or death problems. To that end, SGInnovate has invested in one Australian deep tech company, See-Mode, which uses computer vision and AI tools to run a series of models that gives us new insights and helps us know more accurately the people we have to keep a special eye on or to provide a different level of care for. Steve added that Australia is moving forward and has the opportunity to be a significant leader in AI technology.
Australian Financial Review published an article based on an interview with SGInnovate’s Founding CEO, Steve Leonard, who is in Australia this week meeting with Victorian state government officials and local Deep Tech startups, setting up networks down under to help support local scientists looking to commercialise research so they can do business with Singapore. While Steve doesn’t disclose the size of SGInnovate’s fund, the organisation has deployed AU$42 million in capital into about 65 investments since its launch, which has gone on to raise another AU$458 million. Because most of the companies SGInnovate backs are pre-revenue and usually don’t have a business plan, the team bases the investment decisions on the personalities and experience of the founders. “Talking far-edge, Deep Tech, it’s about as deep as you can get. We have no idea if it’s going to be successful or not, we can’t sit down and calculate the probabilities, but we believe in the founders… and if they’re right it will be something we’re sitting down chatting about in 10 years,” he said. Two Deep Tech startups with presence in the Australia market that SGInnovate has backed are computer vision company See-Mode, and non-chemical water purification company Hydroleap.
The Business Times Online reported that HealthTech startups in Singapore have attracted US$105 million across 21 deals in 2018, according to a report by HealthTech researcher Galen Growth Asia in collaboration with EDB. Overall, investment value in the Asia Pacific totalled US$6.3 billion across 294 deals, with Singapore making up 24 percent of the total deal value in Asia (excluding China and India). Prominent startups include Biofourmis, which clinched US$35 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia India and MassMutual Ventures SEA. In 2018, 58 investors invested into Singapore-based health tech startups and noteworthy Singapore-based investors included SGInnovate, with four investments, and Heritas Venture Fund, Venturecraft and Wavemaker Partners, with two investments each.
e27 reported that Singapore-based Blockchain infrastructure startup StakeWith.Us has announced a S$825,00 seed funding round led by SGInnovate and LuneX Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures’ dedicated fund for blockchain investments. The investment is the second lead investment that LuneX Ventures has concluded under the Startup SG Equity scheme. StakeWith.Us will be using the funds to scale its team across Asia and expand its offering. According to Pang Heng Soon, Head, Venture Building, SGInnovate, Proof-of-Stake protocols are likely to become a “dominant trend” in the Blockchain industry.
FinanceAsia published a feature piece on the rapid development of VC investment in Southeast Asia and India in the past four to five years. The growing ecosphere is also attracting more investors from within and outside the region. Southeast Asia and India are also benefitting from the current trade war between China and the US. Investors are seeking to protect their portfolio companies from being affected and opportunities outside China are looking more attractive, with Southeast Asia and India easily standing out due to their vibrant ecosystems. Tong Hsien-Hui, SGInnovate’s Head of Venture Investing notes that SEA and India companies are evolving, which is a change that is welcomed. While the high price for Chinese startups has deterred SGInnovate from investing in them, strong government support in SEA and India is attracting quality talents to set up companies in the region. He is also seeing more tech startups from Europe or the US increasingly moving to India and Singapore, due to India’s growing mobile population and Singapore’s value as an intellectual property centre, which forms an environment that benefits these tech startups.