SGInnovate Strengthens Deep Tech Nexus Strategy with New Deep Tech Investments and Learning Opportunities

Signalling the company’s relentless focus in adding investment and human capital to Singapore’s flourishing deep tech ecosystem

22 November 2018, Singapore: SGInnovate today announced investments into three deep tech startups; as well as deep tech learning and apprenticeship collaborations with four major local universities.

SGInnovate has invested in Horizon Quantum Computing, Involt and Portcast, while students from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) can look forward to more capabilities-building opportunities with SGInnovate’s enhanced Summation Programme – Singapore’s first deep tech apprenticeship programme.

The announcement was made on the second anniversary of SGInnovate’s founding and one year after the announcement of its Deep Tech Nexus Strategy – a critical milestone that has seen SGInnovate invest in 45 deep tech startups, while building up a network of more than 50 local and international partners to grow Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem.

“SGInnovate believes it can best develop Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem by helping technical founders build investible deep tech startups,” said Steve Leonard, Founding CEO, SGInnovate. “Two years of close collaboration with hundreds of scientists, engineers, investors and academics has strengthened our belief that Singapore can be a deep tech startup hub. Guided by our Deep Tech Nexus Strategy, the announcements we have made today represent new actions around Investment Capital and Human Capital. Both of these are the critical ingredients needed to build great deep tech startups here.”

In line with SGInnovate’s Deep Tech Nexus Strategy of adding value to Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem through investment capital, the company announced that it is investing in three deep tech startups – Horizon Quantum Computing, Involt and Portcast:

Founded in January 2018, Horizon Quantum Computing is Singapore’s first quantum computing startup. The company is developing a new generation of tools to help the larger community of software engineers build quantum-enhanced applications without the need for prior quantum computing experience. Backed by SGInnovate, the startup will focus its efforts on ‘democratising’ quantum computing to help Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem harness its full power for the next big deep tech breakthrough.

Involt is developing new energy storage cells that are set to help the world transition towards a low-carbon future. The company is working on ultracapacitors that will form the backbone of a new breed of battery technology that is safer, more efficient and more cost-effective. SGInnovate’s investment is expected to help Involt expedite the development of its storage technology, which will accelerate the adoption of green technologies such as electric cars as well as solar and wind power generation and distribution.

Through the use of proprietary machine learning and real-time trade data to provide predictive analysis, Portcast builds digital solutions for the logistics industry, helping logistics companies better predict global cargo flows to price dynamically and utilise their assets more efficiently. Following the investment made by SGInnovate, Portcast will be gearing up for the full launch of its product by 2019.

The strengthening of Human Capital forms the next key pillar under SGInnovate’s Deep Tech Nexus Strategy and to that end, the company has also announced that it will be extending confirmed placements in its Summation Programme to students from NTU, NUS, SMU and SUTD. Each university will be allocated dedicated apprenticeship seats for its students, making up 50 percent of the total number of seats available for each cohort. To further enrich the apprentices’ deep tech learning journey, SGInnovate will be sponsoring training courses for all apprentices[1] from the four universities. These courses will support them in acquiring and utilising skills to build real-life applications for deep tech. Taking into account the monthly stipends and training fees, the dedicated placements are valued at up to S$770,000 per year in total. [1] This includes all apprentices from NTU, NUS, SMU and SUTD – those who were selected under the agreement with the universities, as well as those who have applied directly to the programme.

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About SGInnovate

At SGInnovate, we believe that Singapore has all the resources and capabilities needed to tackle ‘hard problems' that matter to people around the world. As part of our Deep Tech Nexus Strategy, we are focused on adding tangible value to the Singapore deep tech startup ecosystem in two key areas – development of Human Capital and deployment of Investment Capital. With the support of our partners and co-investors, we back deeply technical founders through equity-based investments, access to talent, and support in building customer traction. Our efforts are prioritised around transformational technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and MedTech, which represent impactful and scalable answers to global challenges. SGInnovate is a private-limited company wholly owned by the Singapore Government.

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Media contacts

Grace Chiang


+65-9797-9615 [email protected]


Ho Chin Ann

IN.FOM (Partnering agency of SGInnovate)

+65-9069-1000 [email protected]


Appendix – Quotes from partners and portfolio companies

Joseph Fitzsimons, founder, Horizon Quantum Computing, said, “SGInnovate is unparalleled in its leadership in supporting deep technology startups, companies developing technologies that will shape the future. As a company focusing on harnessing quantum physics to accelerate computation, we at Horizon Quantum Computing could not have hoped for a better partner on our journey, and are delighted to have SGInnovate as the lead investor in our seed round."

Nidhi Gupta, CEO, Portcast said, "We are extremely glad to have SGInnovate as a partner in the journey to build Portcast. We believe that both as an investor and as a community, SGInnovate has already proven to be a great asset for us – from hiring the right talent, access to potential customers and mentorship in the startup building process."

Rostislav Doganov, founder and CEO, Involt, said, “Involt is developing new electrical energy storage cells to help the world transition towards a low-carbon future. We are working on ultracapacitors that can form the backbone of a new breed of battery technology that is safer, more efficient and cost-effective. SGInnovate’s investment will help Involt expedite the development of our storage technology, which can accelerate the adoption of green technologies such as electric vehicles as well as solar and wind power generation and distribution.”

Professor Pang Hwee Hwa, Dean, SMU School of Information Systems, said, “We are excited by the opportunities that this programme will offer to SMU students to work with leading industry partners and apply what they have learned about artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and blockchain, for example, and make a meaningful impact in tackling real-world issues.”

Professor Mohan Kankanhalli, Dean, NUS School of Computing, said, “At NUS School of Computing, we are committed to developing talents with the requisite technical skills that are based on long-term industry needs. This apprenticeship programme established by SGInnovate will expand opportunities for our students to gain experience working on deep tech projects. Such immersion programmes will also enable students to hone their business acumen and develop soft skills, while exposing them to real-world business problems. This is a timely initiative for education institutions to work with industry partners to help meet the growing local and global demand for talent with technological expertise.”

Professor Kam Chan Hin, Deputy Provost (Education), NTU, said, “The enhanced Summation Programme will offer our students greater internship and attachment opportunities in the deep tech sector, showing them how exciting it is and what future jobs will look like. By building up the students’ skills and passion for deep tech, we can expand the pool of specialised talent in this sector, and encourage more startup companies to scale and grow.”

Professor Chong Tow Chong, President, SUTD, said, “SUTD’s multi-disciplinary human-centric curriculum equips students with design thinking and technically-grounded skills that aid them in developing new products, systems and solutions. They are further exposed to the startup culture, training, mentors and investors from their first year of study. Hence, we are thrilled by SGInnovate’s support with the deep tech-focused Summation programme that will further strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem SUTD is providing to cultivate and usher more startups into the Singapore economy and beyond.”