Here is the monthly round-up of recent startup-related news and upcoming events in Singapore for December 2016.

Government Initiatives

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Launches SGInnovate

The Singapore government recently launched SGInnovate, a government agency administered by the National Research Foundation. SGInnovate is designed to help Singapore entrepreneurs develop cutting-edge technology innovations. SGInnovate was announced in the Budget 2016. The agency will be set up at 32 Carpenter Street and will focus on robotics, artificial intelligence, financial services, digital health, smart energy, digital manufacturing and transportation. At the launch of SGInnovate, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam stated that “SGInnovate is itself a start-up, and it would require a different set of capabilities from the usual government agency work. I foresee that SGInnovate will keep piloting, prototyping and pivoting in the coming years. It will do what is needed, to run alongside deep-tech entrepreneurs in Singapore, on their journey towards developing pioneering solutions for the world”. Recognising Singapore as a country thriving with innovation and startup ecosystem, Steve Leonard, the founder of the agency aims to promote tech-based innovation in the country.

The World’s Largest Fintech Hub, Lattice 80 now in Singapore

Lattice 80, the world’s largest Fintech Hub officially opened in Singapore on November 10, 2016. Marvelstone Group that launched the hub states that the main aim of the hub is to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the country. Additionally, Lattice 80 will help Singapore fintech companies develop and expand globally, extend support to Singapore-registered companies and financial institutions to adopt innovative practices, etc. Joe Seunghyun Cho, Marvelstone Group’s Chairman stated that “We think Singapore is the right place for a global Fintech Hub for a number of reasons. Singapore, being a traditional financial and trading hub, has the legal infrastructure and access to global investors that budding fintech companies would look for.” Lattice80 will be spread across 30,000 square feet of land. With the support of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and being in line with the country’s Smart Nation vision Lattice 80 will certainly be a boost to the fintech ecosystem of the country.

Startup Activity

KYCK, a Startup that Helps Banks Tackle KYC Issues

KYCK, a Singapore fintech startup has collaborated with IBM on a blockchain project that will help financial service providers tackle KYC issues. The main aim of this project is to ensure that financial service providers can on-board customers in a secure environment. IBM stated that to achieve this aim, they will use an open source Hyperledger Project Fabric that provides immutability, traceability and privacy on a permissioned distributed ledger network that is critical in a highly regulated environment. Singapore’s IBM Bluemix Garage and KYCK will work together to provide a platform to brokerages with video conferencing and encrypted document submission capabilities that will help the on-boarding of customers in a completely secure manner. KYCK will also set up a blockchain network with the customer’s information and will share these details with banks and government agencies for enhanced security. Darryl Tan, the co-founder of KYCK said that “Working with the IBM Bluemix Garage, we have seen how blockchain can improve operational efficiency, increase transparency and reduce transaction risks. We hope that financial institutions will see an improvement in their current customer onboarding processes and the overall customer experience.”

Holumask, a Singapore Startup Promises You Better Health

Holumask, a digital health and data analytics startup founded in 2015 in Singapore recently launched GlycoLeap, the company’s flagship product which helps a person manage diabetes digitally. The product is a smart coach for Type 2 diabetes that helps its users control glucose level and assists in moderate weight loss through its lifestyle and health program. The app is available both on iOS and Android and has a personal health coach to guide its users to control diabetes. The user has to upload photos of his or her meals through the app so that the health coach can review the food logs. Additionally, the coach will assist users on how to test their blood sugar, eat healthy and manage stress. Nawal Roy, the CEO and co-founder of Holumask stated that “GlycoLeap is transformative for people with diabetes, especially in the way it brings diabetes care out of the clinics and hospitals and into people’s everyday lives.”

2 Singapore Startups Win at the Global FinTech Hackelerator

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s financial regulator announced that it will give the three winners of the Global Fintech Hackcelerator a cash prize of S$50,000. The Hackcelertaor was a part of the inaugural Singapore FinTech Festival and had 19 finalists who presented technology solutions. There were 3 winners out of which 2 were Singapore-based startups:

  1. FitSense: A startup based in Singapore that enables Health & Life insurers to personalise products and services by using app and device data and
  2. AIDA Technologies: An Artificial Intelligence (AI) based predictive analytics and intelligent systems company in Singapore. The company’s AI-Driven Analytics addresses the key challenge of automation of knowledge work by augmenting human experts ability to make decisions when confronted with huge amounts of heterogeneous information from diverse sources.

The third winner of the Hackcelerator is a Thailand-based company, Beacon Interface.

Funding

Spacemob secures $5.5m in a seed funding round

Singapore-based Spacemob, a co-working startup recently secured seed funding of $5.5 million. The funding round was led by Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Temasek Holding. Alpha JWC Ventures also participated in the funding round. Spacemob has a co-working space of 15,000 square feet at Claymore Hill in Singapore. The company plans to open two more spaces in Singapore and Jakarta in the first quarter of 2017, and 30 spaces in Asia-Pacific over a period of 36 months. Turochas Fuad, the founder and CEO of Spacemob stated that, “The idea is to allow our members to work at any of our Spacemob sites around the region, which appeals not just to frequent travellers and creatives, but also to SMEs and MNCs who wish to be more asset light.”

Jungle Venture’s second fund of $100m

Singapore-based Jungle Ventures, one of the primary venture capital firms that invest in Singapore startups, closed its second fund of $100 million. The new funds are 10 times of the fund size that was raised in 2012 (of $10m). The investors of the fund include Temasek Holdings, National Research Foundation of Singapore, International Finance Corporation, etc. Jungle Ventures will focus on Series A and Series B funding as well as invest in early-stage startups in Singapore, India, Australia, Malaysia and Thailand. David Gowdey, the Managing Partner of Jungle Ventures stated that “The closing of the second round at USD 100 million is a strong testament to our investment strategy. We look forward to working more closely with exceptional founding teams and catalyze them to be regional or global category leaders.”

Spark Systems, a forex trading startup secures $5million funding

Spark Systems, a startup based in Singapore will build a new forex trading platform by 2017. The company recently raised $5 million funding from an undisclosed source. The company’s office opened at Lattice 80, Singapore’s Fintech Hub located at Central Business District in Singapore. Wong Joo Seng, the co-founder and CEO of Spark previously worked at a financial services company and observed the high transaction costs. He stated “When we were dealing with firms whose trading volumes were in excess of several trillion dollars per year, total transaction costs can be $6 million to $7 million per trillion. This means that about 40 cents of every dollar earned is used to pay the market operator.” The founders of Spark System wish to make forex trading more affordable. Spark Systems has received a grant from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country’s financial regulatory authority and will start its platform by mid-2017.

Upcoming Events

Huawei and NUS Enterprise Collaborate to Launch an IoT Accelerator in Singapore

Huawei, a Chinese-based telecom provider has partnered with the National University of Singapore Enterprise to launch i5Lab, a startup accelerator focused on the Internet of Things (IoT). The lab will provide the startups with mentorship, easy access to investors, industry-grade test beds and global co-marketing opportunities. i5Lab will follow the model of established Huawei collaborations with leading software and industry partners to develop solutions that will build a competitive industry ecosystem. Additionally, the lab will focus on developing a viable IoT ecosystem for a smarter future. Lim Chee Siong, Chief Marketing Officer, Huawei Southern Pacific, stated that “With one of the most connected societies, open data sets and high-skilled ready talent, Singapore is an excellent test bed to nurture IoT ideas that will bring us closer to a smarter future.”

i5Lab will be held for a period of 10 weeks at Block 71, One North District. The applications for the accelerator program are now open. Interested startups can submit the application form here. Applications for the program end on January 30, 2017.

Please continue to visit our blog for monthly startup news and events in Singapore. You may also be interested in learning how to register a Singapore company.