On 18 February 2020, the Singapore government announced the budget allocation for the year. One of the highlights of the budget was the S$300 million (US$215 million) additional funds set aside to support startups in the Deep Tech sector. The government noted the larger investment and longer gestation period required by Deep Tech investments as the reason why the sector was given special attention in this budget.
Eureka AI, an AI enterprise software company, announced that it has raised US$20 million in a Series B funding round co-led by Apis Partners, Gobi Partners, the Riyad Taqnia Fund, and MEC Ventures. SGInnovate, GDP Ventures, Pacific Bridge, and Cianna Capital also participated in the round. They join existing investors in the company that include SoftBank, PPF Home Credit, and East Ventures.
SINGAPORE - Talent retention is the biggest talent-related challenge facing Singapore's science and technology industry, a new local survey showed.
Topics: SGInnovate Insights
Deal Street Asia reported on a panel discussion at the recently concluded Indonesia PE-VC Summit 2020 in Jakarta which kicked off with the question: “What is deep tech?”. The panel included Tong Hsien-Hui, Head of Venture Investing at SGInnovate; Pamitra Wineka, Co-Founder and President, TaniHub; and Norazli Mohamad Nor, Senior Vice President, Investments, Xeraya Capital. During the discussion, they addressed the approaches to making deep tech investments more returns focused and how the dial had moved on the sector’s ability to attract funding. The panel agreed that one of the big stumbling blocks in the industry was a lack of understanding or agreement on a common definition around deep tech, as well as confusion among VC funds who tended to jump on trends and apply them to general technology companies instead. Hsien-Hui emphasised that while SGInnovate had a longer returns horizon than many funds, it was well defined. He explained, “We build a landscape around a specific technology, look at the investment pathways and invest in companies that are stages along that path.”
Following the media statement disseminated, Deal Street Asia published an article on Founding CEO Steve Leonard’s impending departure from SGInnovate in May. Closely following key points from the statement, the article added that SGInnovate had declined to comment if Steve will maintain an advisory role upon departure and said his next role will be announced “in due course.” The story also highlighted Steve’s journey with SGInnovate since its launch in 2016 and shared that SGInnovate has since built and invested over $28.8 million (S$40 million) in more than 60 deep tech startups and created a community of over 33,000 people. Steve’s quote from the statement was included in its entirety.
CNA published a commentary on Singapore’s economic growth and how challenges will continue to contribute to slower growth. The US-China trade war is affecting the Singapore economy by disrupting global supply chains. Singapore’s labour force is also expected to decline from this year onwards. Advances in technology is making it possible for foreign firms to employ workers to perform many tasks remotely, creating greater challenges for Singapore to attract foreign direct investments. Since capital investment ultimately faces diminishing returns, the source of sustained growth comes from indigenous innovation. To that end, Singapore has been expanding its own capacity to innovate, by shifting the education system, strengthening the startup ecosystem and growing the VC industry. The Government has placed more emphasis in nurturing startups, through the creation of grants, loans and co-investment funds, as well as the creation of SGInnovate. These efforts, however, will take time to bear fruit.