Image credit: piotr_pabijan / Shutterstock

Image credit: piotr_pabijan / Shutterstock

Singapore Health Tech has launched a new initiative called VentureCraft to provide a working capital facility to early-stage Singapore-based high-tech IP startups.

It will also grant access to Alibaba Co-founder Sun Tongyu and top China angel investor Cai Wensheng.

The initiative is in collaboration with the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Innovation Centre. Startups must prove a scalable business model and willingness to expand overseas.

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Singapore Health Tech is an investment arm of Singapore Health Holdings. It says it aims to provide a strong platform for startups to expand and commercialise into high-growth markets like China.

“[We invest] in startups with registered intellectual property, so it’s cross-industry. It’s not just medical technology, finance technology, or whatever. As long as there’s intellectual property we will [consider] investing in it,” Isaac Ho, Managing Partner, Singapore Health Tech told e27.

Singapore Health Holdings was recently behind the US$800,000 seed funding of Cialfo, a Singapore-based EduTech startup.

VentureCraft is established with a S$4 million (US$3.2 million) fund. It will provide loans of up to S$500,000 (US$400,000) to startups for 18-24 months ‘to start the ball rolling’ at 10-20 per cent interest rate, also convertible to shares.

“For example, we’re involved with a company [building] 3D dental imaging. The IP comes from MIT directly, licensed in Singapore. They qualified for the Singapore proof-of-value and proof-of-concept grant,” Ho said.

Commercialisation in high-growth markets like China is a big challenge for startups looking to expand overseas. VentureCraft wants to act as a bridge between the Singapore ecosystem and Mainland China.

Meanwhile, a follow-on investment fund of US$300 million has been established thanks to an ‘exclusive network of Chinese VCs and mentors’.

VentureCraft has secured a nine-story building from the Hangzhou government to assist startups looking to enter the China market.

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“We are able to bring overseas companies and register them in China to do further incubation, R&D and help them launch [there],” Ho said.

The aim will also be to bring European and US startups into Singapore, register them there, and then act as a springboard directly in China. Indonesia is also being considered due to high growth.

VentureCraft is looking to invest in up to 10 startups in 2015, with a focus on MedTech (though not exclusively).

“I believe Singapore is doing a pretty good job in getting IP protection for innovations to attract them to this part of the region,” Ho said.

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