Singapore moves into deep tech and is investing in transformational technologies. SGInnovate Founding CEO Steve Leonard looks into how Singapore seeks to navigate these uncharted waters.
Investors, Founders and startup community members descended on the Google APAC office in Singapore yesterday to watch the second-ever Demo Day for Entrepreneur First (EF) in Singapore.
The accelerator programme is 6-months long and one of the perks from this year’s cohort is they have all received small investment offers from SGInnovate to help them with resources as they work to get that first seed or angel funding.
SINGAPORE (Nov 13): At the Harbourfront office of ID Architects, virtual reality head Gerard Teo is showing off the company’s “VR cave”: two huge screens and a 25 sq m space surrounded by warm orange spotlights. Slipping on a HTC Vive headset, Teo is transported to a virtual mock-up of Kallang Riverside — a 30-storey mixed-use condominium development designed by his company.
Within this environment, he can perform a range of tasks: measure the height of a wall, determine which angle a door should swing at and leave annotations for his colleagues. The system also allows multiple users to inspect the VR building simultaneously, similar to a multi-player computer game.
VRCollab was co-founded by computer science graduate Gong Yiwei, 23, and former software engineer Tee Jia Hen, 28. The duo met last year through the start-up accelerator Entrepreneur First, which has provided $25,000 in pre-seed funding to VRCollab. The start-up received a further $42,500 from SparkLabs Global Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, and $50,000 from SGInnovate, which invests in deep-tech start-ups.
SGInnovate today announced that it has appointed 17 co-investors under the Startup SG Equity scheme that will collectively identify and co-invest with it in early-stage deep tech startups. The criteria will see them invest in areas prioritised in Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 Plan or RIE2020, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain.
SGInnovate is managing a portion of the fund under this scheme, which is aimed at accelerating the growth of deep tech startups. The total value for investments that would be made alongside these co-investors could potentially reach up to S$80 million ($59.1 million) over the next four years.
Beyond the capital infusion, SGInnovate expects startup ventures under this scheme to “benefit from the strategic and management guidance provided by SGInnovate and the co-investors” “Deep technology startups typically have a longer roadmap for development and commercialization, and this may discourage some private sector VCs whose LPs expect shorter-term returns,” said Steve Leonard, Founding CEO, SGInnovate.
MIT Technology Review has announced the top ten young innovators under the age of 35 in Asia. Each year, ten innovators less than 35 years of age are given tribute annually at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Asia conference. The list recognizes the development of new technology or the creative application of existing technologies to solve global problems in industries such as biomedicine, computing, communications, energy, materials, web and transportation.
“We are thrilled to be supporting IU35 for the second consecutive year. At SGInnovate, we strongly believe that ‘deep-tech’ startups will be critical players in tackling global challenges in new ways. We want to encourage and help these amazing men and women to have the courage and confidence to bring their research work to the market—where millions of lives could potentially be transformed,” said Dr. Steve Leonard, founding chief executive officer of SGInnovate.
SGInnovate announced its ‘Deep Tech Nexus’ Strategy in December as a direct result of experiences and insights gained in its first year of operation. The Deep Tech Nexus represents SGInnovate’s commitment to add tangible value to the Singapore deep tech startup ecosystem in two key areas – Human Capital and Investment Capital. Three technology areas have been selected for focus during 2018: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and MedTech.
On December 14, SGInnovate announced that it has appointed 17 co-investorsunder the Startup SG Equity scheme. The co-investors would collectively be identifying and co-investing with SGInnovate in early-stage deep tech startups in areas prioritised in Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 Plan or RIE2020, such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.