Channel NewsAsia published a commentary article by Lin Suling, Executive Editor of CNA, on how the recent Budgets have shifted to give the business community more skin in the game of positioning the economy for the future. Several initiatives were announced at Budget 2019, aimed to give the larger business community a bigger stake in the growth of Singapore companies, such as the injection to the Co-Investment Programme, where Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that he will be setting aside another S$100 million. “Restructuring” was another key theme in the Budget this year, and the Government will give stronger support for retraining, redesign and automation through enhancements to the Productivity Solutions Grant and Enterprise Development Grant. Research and innovation have been a priority for the Government for a few years now, with the S$19 billion RIE2020 fund being set aside to boost the generation of enterprise solutions by research institutes and entities like SGInnovate and A*STAR being given larger roles to help startups access talent in the past Budgets. This year, research partners were given a stronger role in enterprise development, with the announced creation of two Centres of Innovation in Aquaculture and Energy at Temasek Polytechnic and NTU respectively. Mr Heng highlighted how closer collaboration between companies and IHLs is needed to marry “the spirit of entrepreneurship” with the rigour of research.
The Straits Times Online reported that Singapore-based cleantech firm SensorFlow has raised US$2.7 million in series A funding led by private investor Pierre Lorinet, along with contributions from existing investor, Singapore-based Cocoon Capital. Cocoon Capital led the startup's initial seed funding round in 2018, with SGInnovate and SparkLabs adding support through the Entrepreneur First accelerator programme. The startup aims to provide Asian hotels with a smart wireless Internet of Things solution to monitor, analyse and automate hotel room environments with the aim of optimising energy efficiency and enhancing guest experience. Wireless sensors are used to collect real-time data and AI to automate decision-making. Sensorflow said that its solutions have delivered up to 30 percent in energy savings and up to a 40 percent reduction in maintenance costs.
Deal Street Asia reported that MedTech startup, See-Mode Technologies, has raised US$1 million in seed financing, led by Singapore-based Cocoon Capital. Also injecting funds are SGInnovate, Blackbird Ventures and a group of angel investors. The company is working on a suite of medical software that analyses routinely collected medical images such as ultrasound, MRI and CT scan images, using a combination of cutting-edge AI and computational modelling techniques. The software will be developed as a cloud-based solution which clinicians can use to securely analyse medical images and obtain predictive data on a patient's stroke risk.
OpenGov published an article on how innovation and technology have contributed to the growth in Singapore’s tourism sector. The FinLab, a joint-venture between UOB and SGInnovate, announced its collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) last year to help travel agencies advance their businesses through a digital transformation programme for businesses. Through a three-month acceleration programme, travel agencies learnt how to identify the areas that hinder growth and which can be resolved through technology. The STB also implemented measures to promote technology adoption and work towards smart hotels, aiming to boost productivity and create high value-added jobs to attract and retain talents in the hotel industry. Finally, Alipay, Sentosa and STB also announced the launch of Alipay’s payment solutions across 70 percent of the merchants that participate in the Sentosa Islander Membership programme, making Sentosa the first major integrated leisure destination in Singapore to go cashless for Chinese visitors.
Eco-Business published an article on the launch of the Liveability Challenge, in which SGInnovate is a partner of. Attending the launch was SGInnovate’s Pang Heng Soon, along with industry leaders and an audience of more than 100 sustainability entrepreneurs. The Liveability Challenge is a Temasek Foundation Ecosperity-supported programme that is offering up to S$1 million in funding for ideas that change the way we produce and consume energy and resources.
Inc ASEAN published an article based on an email interview with Steve, on the three key factors that need to be in place for emerging ASEAN economies to benefit from deep technology. As the ideal hub for deep tech startups, Singapore acts as the jump-off point for deployment for startups to emerging markets. For instance, while Adatos, one of SGInnovate’s portfolio company, is based in Singapore, it works with some of the biggest food producers in Southeast Asia to address a genuine problem in the world – food security. SGInnovate aims to develop deep tech startups into high potential companies with global impact, to build and scale their products from Singapore for Southeast Asia and the world. Steve shares the three key factors that emerging ASEAN economies need in order to benefit from deep tech: