27.11.2020, 16:57

Singapore’s real-life version of Stark Industries

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Hello readers,

Anyone who creates for a living – whether it’s paintings, pottery, or psoftware (the “p” is, um, silent) – eventually gets the itch to do something different. That could mean doing the same thing in a different style or moving to a whole new form of creative endeavor altogether. Whatever it is, running in place won’t fly.

It’s no different in engineering, apparently, if Singaporean firm Hope Technik is anything to go by. The company (and its various business arms) has kept itself busy this year, helping the government fight Covid-19 by developing an accurate contactless temperature assessment system, converting buses into vehicles capable of carrying patients in large quantities, and developing an automated disinfection system for the facilities management industry. Running in place, they definitely have been not.

Today we look at:

How Hope Technik keeps growing its portfolio of innovations
More funding that’s coming soon to Vietnamese startups
Other newsy highlights such as Tesla’s plans to build a new factory in China and an extension for ByteDance’s efforts to sell TikTok in the US

Deep (and wide) tech

Singapore’s real-life version of Stark Industries

Hope Technik simply can’t keep still: Its products are diverse, ranging from robots to sensors to vehicles, and the company is getting ready to launch its 11th and 12th business units next year. Even more could be on the way with its approach towards custom work.

Building the shelf: A number of its business units spring from Hope’s T2 (“T squared”) engineering division, which is responsible for producing anything that’s not yet available off the shelf.
Financially viable: Hope’s primary business units have been profitable throughout the company’s history. The firm ended the years 2016 to 2018 with declining revenue and net losses, but CEO Peter Ho explains that these were due to investments made into internal projects or new units.
Mindful investment: The company looks beyond the money when it comes to receiving external funding, as it’s more about establishing the right linkages and right partnerships.

Read more: The Elon Musk of Singapore looks to engineer the next deep-tech unicorn


Vietnamese startups are about to come into even more money

Thirty-three investment funds have committed to invest US$815 million in Vietnamese startups through 2025 as part of an agreement signed at the Vietnam Ventures Summit 2020, an initiative co-organized by the Vietnamese government and Golden Gates Ventures.

Familiar faces: Some of these foreign funds have already been very active in Vietnam, such as Insignia Ventures, CyberAgent Capital, 500 Startups, Monk’s Hill Ventures, among others.
More of the same: In last year’s event, 18 VCs committed to investing US$415 million in local startups, US$220 million of which has been disbursed by the beginning of 2020.
Bigger ambitions required: Vietnam has been identified as the next growth market for tech investment after Indonesia, but some investors have talked about the lack of Vietnamese startups with regional aspirations and investable startups in earlier stages.

Meet the WFHers’ favorite app

Your favorite vegan patty, Alaska salmon, and essential oils – these are all inaccessible if you work from home and live in an uncool residential area like me.

And ain’t nobody got time to travel for an hour especially when you have 1,001 things on your plate.

Thankfully, we’re in this cool tech era when buying bottles of wine and packets of frozen barramundi is as easy as a click of a button. And the attendees of Tech in Asia Conference agree.

You see, our conference was jam-packed with 58 sessions over four days so stepping away from their laptops to go to the supermarket was tricky. Many of our attendees turned to delivery app GrabMart so they could get everything they need without having to miss a minute of the conference.

So don’t stress yourself. Let Grab do all the work. With countless merchants on its platform, you can easily schedule your orders and receive all your everyday essentials – including fresh produce, health and beauty products, groceries and more – in a jiffy. Check it out here!


1️⃣ Tesla’s expansion in China

The electric vehicle manufacturer plans to invest US$6.4 million in a new factory, which will be situated near its current Shanghai one, to manufacture its charging piles. Up until now, Tesla has been importing its chargers, which are usually installed in charging stations or car parks, from the United States.

The new factory, which Tesla expects to complete in February, will have capacity to make 10,000 chargers a year, according to the document submitted by the company.

2️⃣ More time for ByteDance

The Trump administration has granted ByteDance a new seven-day extension of an order directing the Chinese company to sell TikTok’s US assets, according to a court filing. A US Treasury representative said the extension was granted to review a recently received “revised submission.”

3️⃣ No escape for Future Retail

Future Retail‘s plea to be excluded from Amazon-Future Coupons’ arbitration proceedings has been turned down, and the Court of Singapore International Arbitration Centre has ordered that the arbitration shall proceed.

4️⃣ Asia’s new digital fortresses

With big data now seen as a new national resource, Asian countries are building data fortresses to protect them through legislation that would require businesses to store data on servers within the country and heavily restrict cross-border transfers.

As expected, tech companies aren’t exactly enthused by the notion, arguing that these types of data fortresses will stifle innovation.

5️⃣ Aqwire acquires funding

Philippine property startup Aqwire has raised US$2.1 million in a series A equity financing round led by Singapore-based VC firm Spiral Ventures. The company plans to use the new funds to expand its sales team and strengthen its technology to be “more scalable and secure,” according to CEO Ray Refundo.

6️⃣ Crypto bust on the horizon?

Bitcoin and other digital currencies plunged Thursday, a slide that stokes speculation about the durability of the cryptocurrency boom. Bitcoin slumped by as much as 8.7%, its biggest dip since early August, while other digital coins such as Ether posted double-digit percentage declines.


Hey, Jun Yi! Thanks for your submission. Your company takes the spotlight this week.

Elevator pitch: Singapore-based Taby Technologies is a pocket money app that helps parents and their teenage children cultivate good money habits in an increasingly cashless society. The startup aims to educate the younger generation on good financial habits and instill in them the self-trust and autonomy needed in handling their own finances in a cashless world.
Story: Jun Yi and Ann Qi started Taby in Stockholm under NUS Overseas Colleges (check out our story on the NOC mafia), an enterprise arm of the National University of Singapore. During their stint in Sweden, they had observed an increasing trend of card and digital payments not just in their city but all across Europe. Further research led them to uncover the rising prevalence of these payment methods in the U.S. and parts of Asia across different types of markets. Both of them quickly jumped on this opportunity, with the teen market as their target.
How many years in operation: One year
Number of users: 80 potential users signed up already while still at its pre-launch stage.
What’s the monthly revenue? Taby Technologies is yet to be launched.
Opportunities: As Singapore’s and Southeast Asia’s markets transform into cashless societies, there is greater need for educating younger people on digital financial literacy.
Challenges: Raising funds and reaching out to the target audience

Want your startup to be featured too? Give us a shout-out here.

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