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Investment arm of SPRING Singapore appoints 9 co-investors under Startup SG Equity

SPRING SEEDS Capital Pte Ltd (SSC), the investment arm of SPRING Singapore, has appointed nine co-investment partners under Startup SG Equity.

The Startup SG Equity scheme was created to stimulate and accelerate private investment into innovative, Singapore-based technology startups with strong intellectual property and global market potential. SGInnovate and SPRING Seeds Capital Pte. Ltd. were appointed to manage the funds under this scheme.

These new partners will co-invest in Singapore-based deep technology (deep tech) startups in Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering (AME), Health & Biomedical Sciences (HBMS), and Urban Solutions & Sustainability (USS).

The focus areas within AME include advanced manufacturing, advanced materials & process engineering, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Some of its sub-sectors are additive manufacturing (also known as “3D printing”), robotics, biomaterials, agri-technology, nanotechnology, lightweight and novel materials, intelligent systems or products, and technologies that can enable IoT adoption.

The HBMS sector involves the development of technologies that monitor, diagnose, treat, and/or improve medical conditions. It has five therapeutic focus areas, including: i) cancers; ii) cardiovascular diseases; iii) diabetes mellitus & other metabolic/endocrine conditions; iv) infectious diseases; and v) neurological & sense disorders. Its sub-sectors include medical devices, in-vitro diagnostics, diagnostic imaging, life-science research tools, surgical robotics, endoscopy and digital health technologies.

USS technologies focus on enhancing our living environment and address our resource constraints in a sustainable manner which reduces carbon emissions and efficiently uses natural resources. This includes areas such as renewable energy, water, environment, urban mobility and liveable spaces. Its sub-sectors include renewable energy generation, storage and energy management, smart grids, waste and water monitoring, treatment, recycling and management, urban mobility, land and liveability, as well as agri-technology.

The AME, HBMS and USS sectors are part of the core domains of Singapore’s roadmap for research and development, under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan.

SPRING Singapore works with more than 500 AME, HBMS and USS deep tech startups, and over 40 incubators, accelerators and venture capitalist firms focusing on these sectors. The strategic emerging sectors have immense growth potential and generate significant economic benefit, good jobs, and positive social impact. This includes raising manufacturing productivity through innovation, improving patient health and quality of life, and ensuring environmental sustainability.

Through this partnership with the private sector investors, SSC is committing up to S$100 million under the RIE2020 budget. Previously the investment cap was S$2 million, with co-investment ratio of 1:1. Now different parameters have been set for deep tech and general tech. For deep tech the investment cap is S$4 million, with a co-investment ratio of 7:3 upto S$500,000, and 1:1 thereafter upto the cap. For general tech the cap is S$2 million, with a co-investment ratio of 7:3 upto S$250,000, and 1:1 thereafter.

SSC aims to catalyse more than S$200 million of investments into early stage startups over the next eight years.

The nine appointed partners are Armstrong Industrial Corporation, HealthXCapital, Heritas Capital Management, Incuvest-Avior, MedTech Alliance 2, Millennia-VFT Ventures, Silicon Solution Partners, Small World Accelerator and Trendlines Medical-K2 Global.

These co-investment partners were selected based on their expertise in the key sectors and their ability to add value to the startups. The appointed partners are expected to help shorten the learning curve of high potential startups by injecting resources and expertise. This includes helping with technology translation, offering prototyping and manufacturing facilities, and lending strategic networks for development and commercialisation.

The newly appointed partners are joining seven other SSC co-investment partners. Over the past two years, SSC and these partners have co-invested over $35 million in more than 20 startups in the AME, HBMS and USS sectors.

3D dental printing company, Structo, is an example of a deep tech AME company, which obtained investment from SSC and appointed partner Wavemaker. Mr Huub van Esbroeck, Founder and CEO of Structo, said, “It was challenging finding investors who were willing to invest in high-tech hardware startups, which are relatively capital-intensive compared to software, e-commerce and fintech enterprises. SSC and Wavemaker’s joint investments in our investment rounds helped fund our new materials formulation lab and marketing efforts for the launch of our latest 3D printer. They have also introduced us to potential customers, advisors and mentors to help us be better prepared to go to market.”

Mr Ted Tan, Chairman of SPRING SEEDS Capital and Deputy Chief Executive of SPRING Singapore said, “Investors, accelerators, and incubators play a key role in catalysing innovative deep tech startups. We look forward to working with our new co-investment partners to identify high-potential startups, assist them in developing their capabilities, and fast-track their entry into the global market.” 

Dr Frank Levinson, Founder & General Partner of Small World Accelerator (SWA), added, “Having started and invested in nearly 20 companies in Singapore in the areas of photonics, sustainability, renewable energy, advanced materials and manufacturing technology through a National Research Foundation (NRF)-backed incubator, I have seen how public-private partnerships can provide solid pathways to bring new ideas to full commercialisation. With our newly created accelerator, we look forward to partner SSC to co-invest in more of these promising startups.”

In December 2017, SGInnovate appointed 17 co-investors under the Startup SG Equity scheme. These co-investors would collectively be identifying and co-investing with SGInnovate in early-stage deep tech startups in areas prioritised in the RIE2020 plan, such as Artificial Intelligence and blockchain.

Second Call-for-Partnership for Accredited Mentor Partners from Startup SG Founder scheme

Startup SG is Startup SG Founder is another support pillar under StartupSG. It aims to assist startups in an earlier phase of growth. The Startup SG Founder scheme has launched its second Call-for-Partnership for Accredited Mentor Partners (AMPs) to provide mentorship support and startup capital grant to first-time entrepreneurs with innovative business concepts. The call opened on 1 February 2018, and SPRING is looking to engage partners such as corporates, venture capital firms and accelerators. Bringing financial and industry knowledge, these private sector partners will value-add with mentorship, connections to business networks, and advice to help startups accelerate their learning curves and enhance their go-to-market strategies. 

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