Healthcare seems to be the new hot thing that Singaporean investors are looking into. Said investors are now being drawn in by the industry’s innovations and strong government support.
Biofourmis, a startup originally from Singapore is one such example. After scoring a lucrative US$35 million from US investment fund Sequoia India, Openspace Ventures of Singapore, and the Singapore government’s venture capital arm EDBI, the company is now planning to raise an additional US$100 – US$200 million in 2021.
In November 2019, the company acquired Biovotion, a Swiss maker of wearable medical sensors. This acquisition and the funds injected by its investors has resulted in a corporate value boost to approximately US$500 million.
Another such company that has grabbed the attention of investors is Lucence Diagnostics, a genome medicine company that spun-off from a Singapore-owned laboratory.
Lucence raise up to US$20 million from investors, including major Malaysian hospital operator, IHHH Healthcare and the venture capital unit of Temasek Holdings, a Singaporean government investment firm. The company has even developed its own original medical tech that allows for cancer diagnosis through blood tests as well as AI to help increase the accuracy of such diagnoses.
Many of these health and medicine startups have developed their own technologies and own patents on them. Protected by high entry barriers, they can map out future growth scenarios more readily than startups in ride-hailing, e-commerce and other high-tech sectors.
As a matter of fact, investors are growing more wary of investing into risky ventures; often discriminating when investing in tech startups. Vickers Venture Partners, a Singapore-based venture capital firm headed by renowned investor Finian Tan, said it invested only in companies that have developed innovative technologies. While Vickers has established investment bases globally, Tan stated that investment was increasing in venture businesses in Singapore and other Asian economies.
Singapore is one of the many nations around the world that has suffered from the slowing global economy. Despite this, investment in venture businesses remains rather optimistic. The government reported that investment in the first nine months of 2019 increased 36 percent from a year earlier to US$9.89 billion.
Investments into the healthcare sector have been particularly high due to the aging population of Singapore and a steadily increasing life expectancy. Much emphasis is also being placed in prevention and management of lifestyle related diseases, further increasing investment prospects in these areas.