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Singapore sets aside additional USD 215 million for deep-tech startups

The government expects to attract more than USD 574 million of private funding over the next 10 years.

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Singapore is strengthening its support for deep-tech startups in the country with an additional SGD 300 million (USD 215.4 million) under the Startup SG Equity scheme to encourage investments into such companies.

Through Startup SG Equity, the Singapore government co-invests with qualified third-party investors into eligible startups. It aims to draw in more private-sector investments into homegrown startups with intellectual property and global market potential.

Seeds Capital and SGInnovate have been appointed to manage the funds under Startup SG Equity, which currently has an investment cap of SGD 4 million in deep-tech startups – companies operating in areas such as pharmabio and medtech, advanced manufacturing, and agri-food tech.

“These startups need larger investments, longer gestation periods and face higher risks,” deputy prime minister and finance minister Heng Swee Keat said in his budget speech today.

With the move, the government expects to attract more than SGD 800 million (USD 574 million) of private funding over the next 10 years. “This will give deep-tech startups better access to capital, expertise, and industry networks,” Heng added.

The additional funding is part of Singapore’s Transformation and Growth strategy, for which SGD 8.3 billion (USD 6 billion) has been dedicated over the next three years. The strategy has three key drivers: enabling stronger partnerships, deepening enterprise capabilities, and developing Singapore’s people.

According to a recent report by SGInnovate, countries aiming to develop their own deep-tech sectors need a concerted effort to push the ecosystem forward. For Singapore, the country needed to strengthen and enhance initiatives and programs that are already developed and in place, the report said.

“The next phase of growth is outside of Singapore. It is no longer just about the ecosystem here, but how to help scale our startups quickly and go global,” said Edwin Chow, assistant CEO for innovation and enterprise at Enterprise Singapore.

The study also said that for deep tech to grow, there is a need for more scientists interested in turning their discoveries and innovations into deep tech, as well as a deeper pool of potential investors in the ecosystem.

This article first appeared in Tech in Asia