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09 Nov 2018 Updated 09 Dec 2019

Startups

6 global startups that want to move to Singapore

With its strategic location, strong financing schemes and a vibrant ecosystem, Singapore has positioned itself as an attractive destination for global startup talent. In 2016, 658 – or 15% – of 4,300 tech startups in Singapore were in fact global startups.

It’s a number that continues to grow today; in the last few years, an increasing mix of startup players from around the world, including accelerators and incubators, have set up base in the little red dot. Among them is Beebryte, a French startup that uses smart technology to improve electricity consumption efficiency. Headquartered in Lyon, France, Beebryte opened a subsidiary in Singapore in 2015.

German startup accelerator German Accelerator, with the help of Enterprise Singapore, also opened an office here in July 2018 – its first outside the US – to support the entry of German startups to Asia. It has since brought in 8 German startups on a five-month acceleration programme, including last-mile logistics startup Rytle and deep tech startup Silexica.

Likewise, more startups plan to follow in these footsteps by moving their operations here. We caught up with 6 promising global startups from SLINGSHOT@SWITCH 2018 that have set their sights on using Singapore as a springboard into the Asia-Pacific region.

6 global startups who want to move to Singapore

1. Augmate

Wearable technology is all the rage in this age of Internet of Things (IoT). But the rise of these devices may cause privacy and data to be compromised, which is why startup Augmate is here to fill the gaps. Their IoT device management platform, Augmate Connect, uses distributed ledgers – simply put, a decentralised database – to help businesses strengthen security, and can be integrated into the workplace. Headquartered in New York with offices in Amsterdam and India, Augmate is looking to expand to Singapore, which is embracing more IoT technologies as it moves towards becoming a Smart Nation.

2. Blickfeld

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors are useful, but tend to be big, bulky, and expensive. Blickfeld has developed a compact and affordable version that it says will be useful for autonomous vehicles and even for infrastructure. It uses only one laser to generate a 3D map of one’s surroundings in real time, as compared to traditional versions that can use more than 60 lasers. Based in Munich, the startup has set its sights on Singapore as a launchpad to the Asian market.

Blickfeld
Blickfeld’s LiDAR sensors create long-range and high-definition 3D maps of surroundings

3. InvestED

African startup InvestED is trying to level the playing field in education around the world a little – by providing basic business education to people in emerging markets. Conducted via a mobile app, users watch five videos to learn about finance, including topics such as loan management. The platform can also connect them to lenders for microfinance loans. It has already been rolled out in Ghana, and the startup now wants to set up base in Singapore to reach the unbanked populations in Southeast Asia.

4. OKO

The livelihoods of farmers are always susceptible to the unpredictable forces of nature. This is where OKO comes in – the Israeli startup partners with large financial services companies, such as Allianz, to provide solutions to small farmers who cannot afford corporate crop insurance. Farmers sign up for the service through an app, and receive automatic payouts when they experience adverse weather conditions. More than 700 farmers in Mali have registered for the service, and the startup hopes to work out of Singapore to reach farmers in developing countries such as the Philippines and Myanmar.

5. NutraPonics

The future of food may lie in Canadian startup NutraPonics, which grows pesticide-free produce. Using bio-filters, it seeks to build indoor vertical aquaponics farms with closed-loop systems. Waste from farmed fish serve as fertilisers for plants growing under LED lights, which in turn provide clean water for the fish. In space-constrained but talent rich Singapore, NutraPonics sees an opportunity for expansion, especially in the form of a research and development centre. Its founders also hope these systems can address food security in the long run.

NutraPonics
NutraPonics’ indoor vertical aquaponics farms produce pesticide-free produce

6. BlueFox.IO

Imagine knowing where your consumer is at any time, and being able to reach them instantly. Startup BlueFox.IO taps Wi-Fi signals emitted by smartphones to track foot traffic in real time, unlike other companies that depend on Bluetooth signals. As most users disable their Bluetooth function to improve battery life, BlueFox.IO is better positioned to help its clients, such as retail outlets, optimise sales and marketing by sending SMS advertisements when potential customers are nearby. Headquartered in California with an office in Paris, the startup is opening an office in Singapore in December 2018.

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