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New investments into deep tech for Singapore

Singapore’s deep tech scene is deepening. SGInnovate has just announced investments into three local deep tech startups, and deep tech learning and apprenticeship collaborations with four leading local universities.

The announcement comes at the wake of SGInnovate’s second anniversary and year after the announcement of its Deep Tech Nexus Strategy. Under the Strategy, the government linked company had invested in 45 deep tech startups. A critical milestone, a network of more than 50 local and international partners was built, growing Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem.

 “SGInnovate believes it can best develop Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem by helping technical founders build investible deep tech startups,” said Steve Leonard, Founding CEO, SGInnovate. “Two years of close collaboration with hundreds of scientists, engineers, investors and academics has strengthened our belief that Singapore can be a deep tech startup hub. Guided by our Deep Tech Nexus Strategy, the announcements we have made today represent new actions around Investment Capital and Human Capital. Both of these are the critical ingredients needed to build great deep tech startups here.”

The Deep Tech Nexus Strategy looks to add value to Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem through investment capital. Furnishing this, the company announced three investments into local deep tech startups.

The first, Horizon Quantum Computing, is Singapore’s first quantum computing startup. A new generation of tools are being developed to help the larger community of software engineers to build quantum-enhanced applications. With these tools, the need for prior quantum computing experience are negated. SGInnovate will back this startup, helping it to focus on efforts to democratise quantum computing. Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem can then harness quantum computing’s full power for the next deep tech breakthrough.

Involt, is the second startup invested in. The company is developing new energy storage cells which can aids the transition towards a low-carbon future. An exciting project being embarked on are ultracapacitators. Ultracapacitators form the backbone of a new breed of battery technology which is safer, more efficient and more cost-effective. SGInnovate’s investment is expected to help the startup expedite the development of its storage technology. This will accelerate the adoption of green technologies such as electric cars, including solar and wind power generation and distribution.

The third startup investment is in Portcast’s digital solutions for the logistics industry. Machine learning and real-time trade data will provide predictive analysis to help logistics companies better predict global cargo flows. Prices will be more dynamic and assets may be utilised more efficiently. With the investment, the product will be fully launched by 2019.

Students from the four universities can look forward to the nation’s first deep tech apprenticeship program. The aim is to strengthen Singapore’s human capital. Students from Nanyang Technological University, the National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University (SMU) and Singapore University of Technology and Design will be allocated dedicated apprenticeship seats for its students. Altogether, these students form half of the total number of seats available for each cohort of SGInnovate’s Summation Program.

Each student’s training course fee will be sponsored. From these courses, student can expect to acquire and utilise skills to build real-life applications for deep tech. The monthly stipends and training fees are valued at SGD 770 000 per annum.

Professor Pang Hwee Hwa, Dean, SMU School of Information Systems said, “We are excited by the opportunities that this program will offer to SMU students to work with leading industry partners and apply what they have learned about artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and blockchain, for example, and make a meaningful impact in tackling real-world issues.”

Similarly, Professor Kam Chan Hin, Deputy Provost (Education), NTU, said, “The enhanced Summation Programme will offer our students greater internship and attachment opportunities in the deep tech sector, showing them how exciting it is and what future jobs will look like. By building up the students’ skills and passion for deep tech, we can expand the pool of specialised talent in this sector, and encourage more startup companies to scale and grow.”

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