Singapore-based medtech startup, Eko.ai, took home the Startup SG grand prize of S$250,000 Startup SG grant at SLINGSHOT 2019. The international startup competition provides entrepreneurs with an international platform to profile themselves to corporates, industry veterans and investors.
The startup clinched the top spot for its machine learning-based software for early detection and treatment of heart disease. The solution transforms an expensive 30-minute-long complicated clinical procedure into a one-click, two-minute single procedure.
Eleven other startups across six key sectors were also awarded S$50,000 Startup SG grants each. These are ible Technology Inc. and Datature Analytics in Consumer Products & Services, Media & Advertising, Retail & Food Services category; Nucane Life The Sugar Solution and Grower Agritech in FoodTech & AgriTech; Ubudu SAS and Wandelbots GmbH from Manufacturing, in Logistics & Transportation category; EcoWorth Tech and WaveScan Technologies in Urban Solutions, Sustainability & Energy category; Bambu and CredoLab from FinTech & InsurTech category; and Breathonix from HealthTech, BioTech & MedTech Category.
In addition to the 12 winners, Themis Industries S.r.l won the newly- introduced Deal Maker prize, for garnering the highest level of interest in terms of investment and co-innovation.
The Indian connection at SLINGSHOT
While Wavescan is a Singapore- based startup, it has been founded by an Indian entrepreneur. Dr Kush Agarwal is the Founder and CEO of Wavescan, an A*STAR spin-off company specialising in the R&D of disruptive beamforming electromagnetics-based smart sensor systems and advanced AI algorithms. Their proprietary technology builds upon nearly a decade-long R&D on microwave & millimetre-wave wireless sensors and is capable of high-resolution 4D sensing for non-destructive testing (NDT) applications.
An event of mega-scale
Organised by Enterprise Singapore, the government agency championing enterprise development in Singapore and the region, SLINGSHOT has grown bigger, each passing year, since its inception in 2017. In fact, this year, SLINGSHOT 2019 attracted over 2,400 applications from more than 120 countries, including China, France, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel, Portugal, Thailand, the US and the United Kingdom. The Top 100 Global Startups made it to the three-day semi-finals and grand finals, and also went through a Gear Up workshop to plug them into the Singapore startup ecosystem, in addition to pitch coaching, mentorship, and legal clinics.
Mr Peter Ong, Chairman, Enterprise Singapore said, “SLINGSHOT has grown over the years, successfully attracting more and more top quality startups from around the world. With the new focus on deal making, we gave participating startups more opportunities to profile themselves by increasing the number of investors and corporates on the judging panels. This was made possible through the strong support and active participation of global investors and venture builders who are the key players in nurturing many of our innovative ideas and companies. ”
The winners were selected by a panel of international judges comprising venture firms such as Asia Partners Fund Management, East Ventures, Jungle Ventures, Matrix Partners China and Sequoia Capital, as well as corporates such as Danone, L’Oreal, Rolls-Royce and YCH Group. Besides the Startup SG grants, selected startups also won S$25,000 cash prizes from Danone, L’Oréal, Mistletoe, RollsRoyce, ST Engineering, and S$10,000 cash prizes from Sembcorp and The Yield Lab. Mediacorp provided a S$300,000 media prize package
. Other prizes included legal clinics by WongPartnership for the Top 12, while the Top 30 won three months’ hot-desk memberships from Found8 and up to 18 months’ worth of workspaces at JTC Launchpad developments. In addition to this, all Top 100 Global Startups were given S$13,600 (US$10,000) worth of Cloud Credits by Digital Ocean.
The number of investors on the judging panel also saw an increase from 25 in 2018 to 70 this year. In addition, SLINGSHOT 2019 also a steep jump in the number of corporates joining the event as sponsors, judges or tech scouts, by more than 5 times, from 17 in 2018 to 90.
A stepping stone to scale up
The winners of the first two editions of SLINGSHOT have made it big after their triumph. Alchemy Foodtech, a startup tackling the war against diabetes, has gone on to raise S$2.5 million after winning SLINGSHOT in 2018 and has signed more than 20 pilot partnerships with food manufacturers and companies in the region to come up with healthier food options to combat diabetes and other diseases. The 2017 winner, California-based Sophie’s Kitchen has also set up its plant-based seafood manufacturing operations in Singapore and won S$1 million in funding at The Liveability Challenge 2019 presented by Temasek Foundation and organised by Eco-Business in Singapore. Today, at Sophie’s Kitchen, a pilot run to grow protein out of microalgae is underway, with the grand ambition to make Singapore a protein-exporting powerhouse and an aspiration to provide alternative space- food options for astronauts. If this is the set precedent, all the winners of SLINGSHOT 2019 are all set to go upwards and onwards.
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