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.
Singapore Business Review reported that MAS has joined a consortium of financial industry partners to introduce Veritas, a framework promoting the adoption of AI and Data Analytics (AIDA)-driven solutions. The framework will enable financial institutions to evaluate their AIDA-driven solutions against the principles of fairness, ethics, accountability and transparency (FEAT). Veritas will comprise of open source tools that can be applied to different business lines, such as retail banking and corporate finance, and in different markets. The platform will focus on use cases in three areas, customer marketing, risk scoring and fraud detection for a start. The Veritas consortium is currently made up of 17 members, comprising MAS, SGInnovate, EY and 14 other financial institutions.
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 Business Times Online reported that according to ESG, venture investors have poured S$13.4 billion into local startups in the first three quarters of 2019, a 36 percent increase from 2018. Government efforts spurred deal-making activity, such as the Startup SG Equity scheme, where the government makes co-investments with the private sector into startups in nascent industries. For instance, SEEDS Capital and SGInnovate, both administrators of Startup SG Equity, invested in 56 deals in the first three quarters of 2019. Amid global megatrends such as ageing, urbanisation and climate change, more VC firms are paying attention to deep tech, with S$416.4 million being put into deep tech deals, specifically in advanced manufacturing, urban solutions and sustainability and healthcare and biomedical sciences, marking a 25 percent increase YoY. Committed to growing the deep tech investment scene, ESG and MAS have started conducting deal-making sessions called Deal Fridays, which has seen the generation of over 200 leads through the 15 sessions to date.
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.
ZDNet reported that SGInnovate has issued a call for Australian investors to join its cause to work with scientists and grow the Deep Tech space. Speaking at D61+ Live in Sydney this week, SGInnovate founding CEO Steve Leonard shared that while consumer tech is solving problems of convenience, Deep Tech such as MedTech, AI and Quantum Computing amongst others can solve big challenges faced by humanity. Since its launch in 2016, the organisation has backed more than 70 local and foreign startups, equivalent to approximately S$40 million. Some companies that have received backing from SGInnovate include Taiger, AIDA technologies, and Melbourne-based See-Mode. Steve also noted that while investments made have been based on market-led trends and knowing that tangible use cases can be delivered, SGInnovate has also avoided unicorns because it could ‘take the organisation off the important work’.