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A*Star's A*ccelerate, investors raise over S$85m to co-create deep tech startups

SINGAPORE'S Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*Star) newly-rebranded commercialisation arm, A*ccelerate, will be entering into new agreements with investors such as Startup-O, Hafnium Hafaway, Marvelstone, Trendlines and Dymon Asia Ventures.

These partnerships will bring the total commitment for its venture co-creation (VCC) initiative to over S$85 million. The aim is to commercialise technologies in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and speciality chemicals.

One of A*ccelerate’s newly-minted deals will see a tie-up with Hafnium Hafaway, where both parties will jointly invest up to S$20 million in as many as 10 local speciality chemicals startups,  leveraging technologies developed in A*Star.

A*ccelerate CEO Philip Lim said: “We are delighted to team up with Hafnium to co-create these new ventures in speciality chemicals. This collaboration builds upon the strong research work at A*Star and Hafnium’s expertise in growing speciality chemical businesses.”

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Hafnium partner Francis Tan said that the company is delighted to work with A*ccelerate to take the best of A*Star’s speciality chemicals intellectual property portfolio, and provide the expertise and financing to enable them to scale-up rapidly.

Senior Minister for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, who made the announcement at Fusionopolis One on Friday morning, noted that the Republic has been highly-ranked in many global innovation indices, and "now that Singapore is no longer in the catch-up phase, the work for A*ccelerate - formerly called ETPL - is all the more challenging, and expectations are all the higher”.

Dr Koh added that A*ccelerate must lead the way and strive to become one of the top commercialisation offices in the world. He sees the agency delivering on three key roles in Singapore’s innovation ecosystem.

One role is supporting A*Star researchers from lab to market, helping them to commercialise their inventions. Its startups have raised a total of over S$210 million since the start of the Research, Innovation, Enterprise Plan 2020 (RIE2020), a government initiative to support local research and development.

The second is supporting local enterprises in innovation. This has been done through initiatives such as VCC, which brings in private sector partners and investors as venture creators to co-create deep tech startups.

The third role is connecting A*Star and the industry to strengthen links between research, innovation and enterprise.