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.
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.
“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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