SPRING SEEDS Capital
Pte Ltd (SSC), the investment arm of SPRING
Singapore, has appointed nine co-investment partners under Startup SG
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.
Call-for-Partnership for Accredited Mentor Partners from Startup SG Founder
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.