On 18 February 2020, the Singapore government announced the budget allocation for the year. One of the highlights of the budget was the S$300 million (US$215 million) additional funds set aside to support startups in the Deep Tech sector. The government noted the larger investment and longer gestation period required by Deep Tech investments as the reason why the sector was given special attention in this budget.
Asia Fruit reported that SGInnovate has invested in Singapore-based supply chain traceability platform DiMuto to help them drive further international expansion into markets such as Europe and Latin America in the next few months. Gary Loh, founder and chairman of DiMuto said that the investment will help the company to capitalise on its global growth momentum. To date, DiMuto has tagged more than 30m fruits and tracked and traced over US$100m worth of agri-food trades. It currently has a presence in seven countries including the US, China, Thailand, Australia and Mexico.
IBS Intelligence reported that Tribe Accelerator has facilitated the fundraising of $15.7 million, raising its total funding to $28 million for startups across the world. Tribe Accelerator has expressed intentions of propelling government partnerships with countries to promote development through technology, with Ng Yi Ming, Managing Partner of Tribe Accelerator sharing that it is necessary to help fuel up the current ecosystem. According to Hsien Hui Tong, Head of Venture Investing at SGInnovate, which is one of the partners for Tribe, the partnership will allow SGInnovate to get closer to the action and support the promising startups through investments and venture building efforts.
Tech in Asia reported that Singapore-based healthtech startup Lucence has raised US$20 million in a series A round led by global healthcare provider IHH Healthcare, with participation from SGInnovate and Heliconia Capital, amongst others. Lucence, which is a spinoff from A*Star in 2016, uses liquid biopsy, a blood-based technology that’s less invasive than tissue biopsies, to help clinicians analyse a tumour and make treatment decisions. The new funds will enable the company to reach more patients across Asia and North America, and the company is planning to embark on new prospective clinical studies to evaluate its technology for early detection of multiple cancers.
Purdue Exponent featured an article on Starship Technologies’ robots, which roamed the campus of Purdue University delivering snacks, drinks and meals to buildings and outdoor locations. Henry Harris-Burland, Vice President of Marketing of Starship Technologies, shared that the robots use computer vision, sensor fusion and machine learning to travel autonomously on sidewalks and while the technology is advanced, they do sometimes get stuck at busy intersections or crowded streets, which is when human operators take over. According to Mr Harris-Buland, the company plans to launch the robots on 100 college campuses in the next 24 months and continue to provide a great delivery service for students, staff and faculty.
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.