• MEYO

Singapore start-ups catch investors' eye despite crisis.



These are tough times to be running a business but the coronavirus pandemic has created opportunities across the economy that are tailor-made for nimble Singapore start-ups that can attract capital and utilise support from the private and public sectors.

Sectors such as technology and sustainability have generated huge potential, with some new operators beefing up their funding to take advantage.

Last month, plant-based meat start-up Karana closed US$1.7 million (S$2.3 million) in seed funding, while digital wealth management platform StashAway raised US$16 million in a recent funding round. With enhancements to the Startup SG Founder programme announced earlier this week, budding entrepreneurs will get a further boost.


Enterprise Singapore director for start-up development Lim Seow Hui noted that while all sectors have been disrupted by the pandemic, new trends and opportunities in the near and long term have been created.


That is where start-ups can play a key role given their ability to drive innovation, she said, stressing the need to keep the entrepreneurship ecosystem conducive for their continued development.


500 Startups partner Vishal Harnal pointed out that leading start-ups made their breakthroughs during economic slowdowns, citing the likes of WhatsApp and Uber, which were founded after the 2008 global financial crisis.


Industries such as health technology, advanced manufacturing and education tech have caught the eye during the pandemic with their innovations, said Tribe Accelerator managing partner Ng Yi Ming.

Professor Freddy Boey, deputy president of innovation and enterprise at the National University of Singapore, said investors may be more wary of start-ups offering travel-or aviation-related solutions for now, while digital solutions and urban farming are gaining interest.

The pandemic has changed the risk dynamics for start-ups and industry, he said, adding: "Investors are still active but pickier in terms of the criteria and assessment - the quality of teams, type of products and services, and if business models have proven to be resilient during and after the Covid-19 situation.”


Ref: Strait times.