Singapore (DealStreetAsia) – 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.

Focus on Deep Technology

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.

Ku Kay Mok, Partner at Gobi Management, one of the co-investors, said, “Gobi has been a pioneer investing in Singapore-based startups expanding to the ASEAN region and China since 2010. Over the past decade, China has made so many advances in technology that it has been transformed into a world-class deep tech creator as well as a capital exporter.”

“This fact was made clear by Alibaba’s recent move to set up DAMO Academy, which will invest $15 billion in R&D across 8 research bases globally, including Singapore. With our 15 years history of venture investment in China, we are looking to invest in Singapore-based startups that can complement these globalising Chinese tech companies.”

S$80 Million Investment

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.


Steve Leonard, Founding CEO of SGInnovate, speaking at a event. Credit: SGInnovate

SGInnovate, a government-owned organisation which is positioned as a platform for connecting institutional investors to deep technology opportunities, recently announced its ‘Deep Tech Nexus’ Strategy as part of a strategic shift will see it deepen its focus on AI, as well as concentrate on establishing the deep tech node of the city-state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in the areas of human and investment capital.

It plans to make direct investments into at least 20 Singapore-based deep tech startups in 2018, as well as to co-invest into deep tech startups alongside private-sector VCs under the Startup SG Equity scheme.

tryb Group Selected as Co-Investor

Markus Gnirck, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, tryb Group, another co-investor in this initiative, adds, “tryb Group acquires and operates financial technology infrastructure for ASEAN financial services, and we look forward to working with SGInnovate to nurture and develop fast-growth deep tech companies in Singapore.”