Singapore - The New Hub for Deep Tech

Singapore is fast becoming a new hub for tech startups, especially deep tech. Deep tech refers to tech startups creating innovations from scratch. This means tech startups that do not rely on or build on already existing technological breakthroughs.

Most deep tech startups are the result of countless research by Ph.D. students and scientists. Most of this research occurs in university research centers like the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Graduate Research Innovation Programme (GRIP) in Singapore. These programs create an enabling environment for innovation to take place because they provide Ph.D. researchers and research scientists with the resources they need while still being able to complete their studies.

Notably, the term deep tech was formed by Swati Chaturvedi, CEO of investment firm Propel(x). A major example of one of Singapore’s deep tech startups is Zilliqa.

Zilliqa Deep Tech Status

Popularly known as a public, permissionless blockchain, Zilliqa boasts of being able to offer high throughput and better scalability as compared to other blockchains available today. The platform also claims to be able to securely carry out thousands of transactions in just one second. Zilliqa is a deep tech platform because its technology was built from scratch. It is the first blockchain platform to incorporate sharding technology.

The platform, according to a recent tweet, was “born out of lecture halls and laboratories,” hence confirming its deep tech status.

Speaking on this in an interview with e27, Colin Miles, CCO of Zilliqa, pointed out that a lot of time and resources have gone into the academic aspect of many deep tech startups, Zilliqa inclusive. Another major deep tech startup birthed from the NUS incubation program is Breathonix. It was founded in 2019 and recently designed a breath test that could help detect the presence of COVID-19 in about 60 seconds.

Why the Focus on Deep Tech?

There are a lot of important reasons why the Singapore government is looking to grow its deep tech space.

  • For one, it hopes to ensure it has a competitive advantage as compared to countries within its region. When compared to large economies like Indonesia and Vietnam, Singapore’s economic sphere is quite small. Turning to the deep tech space will provide it with comparable, if not better, footing in the global economic space.
  • The deep tech space is also a niche Singapore can easily spearhead. Its educational system and strong research base further make this feat achievable.

Another major innovation brought to life by SGInnovate is PowerX. SGInnovate is a Singapore government initiative focused on growing the deep tech ecosystem.

Current Challenges
  • Topping the list of challenges faced by deep tech startups is FUNDING. Investing in deep tech startups requires a lot of funds. It is also a high-risk investment area as the innovation in question may fail as opposed to already existing tech startups.
  • Other important challenges include creating effective awareness that is sure to drive adoption and poor business management skills as most deep tech founders are “entrepreneurial scientists.”

Seeing that a major issue in the Singaporean deep tech space is funds, the government put forward a special budget. In 2020, the government set aside S$300 million (US$224 million) to help fund deep tech startups.

Just last month, Seeds Capital made a call for about 10 to 15 private investors to help invest S$150 million (US$112 million) in deep tech startups.

Interestingly, popular crypto-friendly travel booking platform recently added support for ZIL tokens. Now ZIL can be used in booking the platform’s over 2.2 million hotels globally.

Zilliqa (ZIL) Price

At the time of publication, ZIL was trading at $0.077923 with a market cap of $862,392,240 and a 24-hour trading volume of $306,791,093.

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