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.
Campus Magazine published an article on the opportunities for deep tech with SGInnovate. As emphasised by Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat at the SGInnovate second year anniversary, one of the challenges that the local deep tech startup ecosystem faces is finding suitable talent. To that end, SGInnovate launched its first apprenticeship programme known as the Summation Programme in 2018, to connect promising deep tech startups with bright students from both tech and non-tech backgrounds that are currently studying in local and overseas universities. Working for the AI-driven firm Taiger, SUTD apprentice Gabriel Wong was tasked with creating a tool that converts images into text and an engine that could extract specific text from complicated documents. NUS apprentice Jinna Qian, who interned at V-Key, asserts that it was important to stop discouraging women from joining the tech sector. She added that based on her experience, deep tech startups are gender-neutral in terms of work, and both men and women are evaluated equally for the work they have done.
TechTrade Asia published an article on the progress of blockchain in 2018, and how the technology will play out in the coming year. According to Steve, blockchain will play a bigger role beyond the financial industry. For instance, it can be used to address food safety by preserving the integrity of food supply, create a greener ecosystem through energy or electricity-sharing on the Blockchain, increased transparency in logistical supply chains, and stamping out counterfeit drugs in the healthcare system. He added that blockchain can help solve poverty issues on a large scale and create an economic impact on the underserved community in Southeast Asia. The lack of access and difficulties for many of the unbanked and underbanked population is creating barriers for these communities to come out of poverty, and blockchain helps to remove the need for a ‘middle man’ that requires a fee for a bank account opening or usage, reducing the cost of transactions. Finally, Steve gave the example of how AID:Tech, one of SGInnovate’s portfolio companies, is enabling aid, welfare, remittances, donations and healthcare to be digitised and delivered through blockchain technology in a transparent manner.
Jumpstart Magazine published an article on the deep tech trends to look out for in 2019, from an investment perspective. According to Hsien-Hui, while deep tech has become a hot topic in recent years, investors should remain careful about separating the wheat from the chaff.
- AI as a specialised problem-solver: 2019 will be the year for AI companies that are narrowly focused on specific processes to solve industry pain points to win big in the market, such as AIDA and Taiger. AI startup that identifies their target audience as everyone usually means that their revenue will likely be highly skewed on the service side, making them unable to scale and an unattractive investment to VCs.