On November 17, 2022, we held an online event titled “Next Level DeepTech: APAC Startup Pitch” which had about 170 registrants from government and business fields. We would like to thank everyone again who participated. In this report, we would like to share with you the summary of the event.
Writer: Yin-Chi Wu
Purpose of the Event
The purpose of this online event, co-hosted by Plug and Play Japan and SGInnovate, was to introduce DeepTech startups from the Asia-Pacific region and to promote global DeepTech collaborations for further scaling up and solving social and environmental problems.
Our guest speaker was Mr. KANG Aik Meng, Deputy Director of Global Innovation Network & Innovation Ecosystem Development, Enterprise Singapore*. He gave a keynote speech on the importance of cross-border cooperation in DeepTech from a global perspective.
*A statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Government of Singapore.
The event also featured six DeepTech startups from Japan and Singapore.
Guest startups: Mr. Shigetoshi Sakurai, CEO of Aonbarr (Japan), Mr. Shunya Chosokabe, CEO of FiberCraze (Japan), Mr. Goji Ueda, CEO of HydroVenus (Japan), Mr. Yong Shin, CEO of Augmentus (Singapore), Dr. Gayathri Natarajan, CEO of Krosslinker (Singapore), Patrick Teyssonneyre, CEO of Xinterra (Singapore).
Greetings from Plug and Play Japan
Prior to the opening, Hayata Okubo, New Materials Program Manager of Plug and Play Japan, introduced Plug and Play and its initiatives. He also explained the importance of supporting the DeepTech industry to the Japanese economy.
Greetings from SGInnovate
Ms. Dasreena Kaur, Assistant Director-Partnerships of SGInnovate, a Singapore Government-backed Deep Tech investor and ecosystem builder, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to co-host this joint event. She also provided a brief introduction to the various initiatives SGInnovate drives to support Singapore’s DeepTech economy.
Mr. KANG Aik Meng from Enterprise Singapore spoke about the importance of cross-border cooperation in DeepTech and an overview of Enterprise Singapore’s International Co-Innovation Programmes (CIPs). Below is an excerpt of his address.
”The DeepTech industry is emerging as a key area of potential where the global market demand is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 21%. Over the next 10 years, the total market revenue is expected to grow to $3.7 billion by 2023 from $431 million in 2021 and the market valuation is reaching approximately $580 million by the end of this year (Source from Future Market Insights: Deep Tech Industry Insights, 2022). Investments in DeepTech startups and scale-ups have also grown tremendously from $15 billion in 2016 to more than $60 billion in 2022. (Source from Boston Consulting Group & Hello Tomorrow: Deep Tech – The Great Wave of Innovation, 2021).
About two thirds of these investments is channeled towards the areas of life sciences and AI. Looking into Asia Pacific, South Asia and the Pacific have been identified as the regions expected to show the strongest growth in DeepTech market demand, with a projected CAGR of 24.3% from 2022 to 2032, higher than the projected global CAGR of 21.8%. East Asia is also expected to remain as one of the most attractive markets for the same forecast period. With a strong market potential, DeepTech startups in Asia Pacific regions are blooming with the increased adoption across a wide range of industry sectors. This is especially so in the fields of semiconductors, quantum computing, AI and cybersecurity.
In exploring ways to leverage the rise of the tech industry, stakeholders across the board in the innovation ecosystem are looking towards global collaborations as one of their strategies.
Governments have stepped up to pave the way for more international collaboration on innovation. For instance, the “Australia-UK FTA” signed in 2021, dedicated a chapter to bilateral collaborations on innovation as a means to support trade and economic growth in both economies.
Likewise, Singapore formally embarked on the “Partnership for Growth and Innovation (PGI)” with the United States in October last year. This aims to strengthen trade and investment collaborations between US and Singapore companies in key coming areas such as digital economy and smart cities, advanced manufacturing and supply chain, clean energy and environmental technology, as well as healthcare. Singapore also signed a “Memorandum of Cooperation” with Japan in May this year. This is to promote and enhance the flow of entrepreneurs and enterprise between both countries, providing greater access to each country’s startup and innovation ecosystem.
Coming down to the company level, Enterprise Singapore as government agencies that champions enterprise growth is also keen to explore how we can encourage more innovation collaborations between startups, as well as corporates from both Singapore and overseas.
One of the key initiatives we do is via what we call the “Co-Innovation Programmes” or “CIPs”. In short, this aims to promote, facilitate and support bilateral or even multilateral innovations collaborations between Singapore enterprises and companies from outside of Singapore. We do this by partnering foreign government agencies to provide co-funding support to companies with joint R&D projects that have been approved by the respective funding agency. Through CIPs, we hope that companies will be able to tap on the complementary expertise and strength of foreign companies to strengthen their own innovation capabilities, as well as the leverage on this project to create new and innovative products that will in turn help them expand our products and service offerings.
An example of how CIPs have supported cross border collaboration for Singapore companies. Akribis Systems, a Singapore robotics company, came together with the issuance partner digital and submitted a joint project under the CIPS program with Agito Motion Systems, an Israel robotics company, to develop a new robotic control system. The two companies went further to work on more development projects and later on Akribis even invested into Agito. Through their partnership, Agito was able to expand to new markets and increase worldwide sales volume for its mottos and stages system. This is just one of the many projects supported under CIPs. Moving forward, we are also looking to expand our CIPs network to include more countries, so Singapore enterprises can access more global innovators.
The DeepTech industry presents a sea of opportunities for companies. To successfully ride on this new wave, one possible approach is not to compete individually, but to embark on innovation collaborations with other players, regardless of the company size or nationality. I hope that this event will generate new collaboration ideas and partnership opportunities for all of you. “
Startup Pitch Session
Six DeepTech startups from Japan and Singapore pitched at this event.
Aonbarr develops technologies for magnesium extraction from seawater, CO₂ fixation, and hydrogen generation. With the mission of “making Japan a resource-rich country through the power of technology,” Aonbarr Inc. has been developing and manufacturing products in the biotechnology field since its establishment, and has coordinated a wide range of different fields, such as electronic components, including LEDs, and is currently working on the development of magnesium from seawater. Today, the company is making great strides as a research and development manufacturer that is generating innovations in new energy fields such as the extraction of magnesium from seawater, CO₂ fixation, and hydrogen generation.
(Image by Aonbarr Inc.)
FibarCraze develops technology to trap ingredients by creating nano-sized holes in films and fibers. The company develops highly functional materials based on its core “technology for making fibers and film materials porous,” which was born from basic research at Gifu University. By creating nanoscale pores in materials, the company handles a variety of functional materials, such as functional fibers that trap insect repellents and moisture retention ingredients, and liquid separation membranes.
(Image by FiberCraze)
Hydro-VENUS is a startup working on the development of a pendulum-type water current generator that uses a pendulum instead of a propeller.
It was established to commercialize pendulum-type tidal current power generation, which was born out of research at Okayama University. This is the world’s first system that generates electricity by vibrating a pendulum with the flow of water in rivers, waterways, and oceans around us, such as tidal and ocean currents. The pendulum is highly durable and inexpensive because it uses a simple shape such as a cylinder, and there is no risk of injuring fish because the pendulum oscillates slowly. The technology is now applied in our new project of flood prediction system in which big-data collection is realized by a self-powered sensing module.
(Image by Hydro-VENUS)
・Augmentus Pte. Ltd.
Augmentus is a robot simulation solution used by the world’s leading manufacturing companies. Augmentus offers a no-code robot programming solution that enables anyone, even those with no robotic and coding experience, to program industrial robots in minutes. Augmentus’ proprietary technology incorporates intelligent AI to enable automated robot path generation on complex geometries to minimize production downtime and improve ROI.
(Image by Augmentus)
・KrossLinker Pte. Ltd.
KrossLinker is a deep tech advanced material cleantech startup from Singapore. The company has developed a disruptive aerogel production process from several years of research that can make aerogel faster, cheaper and at the same time energy efficient, scalable, and sustainable. Through this technology, the company aims to make the world’s most superior insulating nanomaterial, aerogel, affordable and accessible for several thermal insulation applications in cold-chain, electric vehicle battery, paint, coating, construction and winter apparel industry. Krosslinker’s first aerogel product, Cryar shipper, is used for safe and sustainable (re-usable) transport of temperature sensitive biopharma products (drugs, vaccines, clinical trial samples).
(Image by KrossLinker)
Xinterra is a materials centric company unlocking innovation towards accelerating and increasing the efficiency of materials research and development, through the combined use of Artificial Intelligence and High Throughput Experimentation. Building upon decades of materials experience, they innovate new materials that are essential for sustainable products and applications. Xinterra offers accelerated and efficient materials development as a service, to startups at any stage, and also to established small, medium, and large companies
(Image by Xinterra)
As a global innovation platform, Plug and Play Japan is going to continue “Next Level DeepTech” as a new initiative to push international collaboration in DeepTech forward. For this first edition, we held a pitch session with Japanese and Singaporean DeepTech startups in collaboration with SGInnovate and Enterprise Singapore referred to the importance of cross-border collaboration in DeepTech. We plan to expand the event to other APAC countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and many more in the future. Please follow our Linkedin page to get the latest updates!
Special thanks to:
・To all the panelists
・To all collaborators
・To all attendees