SGC Business Magazine published an editorial contribution by Steve Leonard on the startup landscape in Singapore. Steve highlighted that while Singapore is helping drive some of ASEAN’s booming digital economy, most startups in Singapore are building businesses around consumer-facing technology. He emphasised the importance for Singapore to create startups that pursue ‘deep tech’ products and how SGInnovate was formed to tackle the challenges faced by these startups such as the lack of investment, the scarcity of talent and the long gestation period for commercialisation.
The Straits Times Online reported on SGInnovate's investment in MediLOT Technologies for an undisclosed amount as part of its strategy to develop research-based deep tech start-ups. Based in Singapore, MediLOT Technologies is built on blockchain, AI and database management system technologies for patients, healthcare practitioners, and oganisations, giving them access to private and secure health data for better diagnoses and effective treatments. MediLOT is the first Blockchain and Healthcare Analytics company in Singapore that SGInnovate has invested in, which is in line with its mission to help develop high potential companies with products that will have global impact.
e27 reported that Singapore-based influencer marketing platform Affable announced that it has raised S$1 million in seed funding round led by Decacorn Capital. The funding round also includes the participation of SGInnovate through its Startup SG Equity scheme, making Affable the first startup to get funded under the scheme, which aims to “stimulate and accelerate” private investments into local startups with intellectual property and global market potential. Affable uses AI to identify authentic micro-influencers, allowing brands and marketing agencies to engage with relevant influencers and analyse their marketing campaigns.
Ming Pao published an article from an interview with Steve Leonard at the GREAT Festival of Innovation Hong Kong, on Smart Cities and the role of SGInnovate in Singapore. The article gave a brief introduction of SGInnovate and highlighted the organisation’s role in developing Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem, guided by its Deep Tech Nexus strategy. In the interview, Steve brought up the point that many research scientists are not familiar with bringing their research into commercialisation, and how SGInnovate is keen to work with researchers with the right technical skills to build something that is of high impact to the world. On the question of whether Hong Kong is too late in the AI race, Steve pointed out that Hong Kong has the capabilities to catch up with the rest of the competition. He highlighted Hong Kong’s good universities, investment capital in the ecosystem, ambition and talent, and that what it needs crucially, is a working relationship between its citizens and the government.
DealStreetAsia published an article based on an interview with Alex Crompton, the Director of EF in Singapore. Crompton discusses how EF’s investment thesis and protocols have evolved since its launch in Singapore, his views on the city-state’s venture ecosystem and its investors, the impact of Brexit on startups and VCs, as well as its talent pool, among other topics. Crompton also talked about EF’s partnership with SGInnovate and the impact of its recent shift based on the ‘Deep Tech Nexus’ strategy announcement. He shared that SGInnovate had contributed to helping them establish and grow EF’s presence in Singapore. He believes that the strategy shift by SGInnovate sends a strong and positive signal to the investment community, giving people the confidence to and provide a significant boost to the ecosystem. Finally, he adds that SGInnovate’s talent building initiative has helped bring more people into the deep tech ecosystem.
MoneyFM 89.3 conducted a live radio interview with Steve Leonard, Founding CEO of SGInnovate. During the interview, Steve gave a brief introduction and background of SGInnovate and reasons for its focus on deep tech. He shared some of the milestones that SGInnovate has achieved since the launch – investing in 29 startups, built a network of more than 1,000 technical individuals interested in joining early-stage tech companies, created and hosted more than 100 events at its premises attracting a total of 9,000 participants. He also addressed some of the challenges typically faced by deep tech startups, such as funding and talent.