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NTU, NUS and Temasek to invest $75 mil to drive commercialisation of deep tech ventures

The programme aims to launch at least two start-ups per year.

The Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU), the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Temasek have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to embark on a joint $75 million pilot programme. The programme aims to accelerate the creation of successful deep tech start-ups from the pipeline of research at NTU and NUS.

Temasek will invest $65 million into the deep tech start-ups while NTU and NUS will put in $5 million each. Temasek’s investment will be made mostly through its early-stage deep-tech investing platform, Xora.

Under the programme, Temasek and Xora will work with both universities to launch and build globally-competitive ventures that have the strong potential to address market opportunities in areas such as energy transition, biotechnology, and the future of compute and cognition.

Xora’s team of deep tech founders will work with the universities’ intellectual property (IP) and technical teams to develop and hone their go-to market strategies. At the same time, Temasek, NTU and NUS will provide the start-ups with access to their networks of businesses and mentors.

The programme aims to launch at least two start-ups per year. The start-ups will be provided with entrepreneurial mentorship, funding and support.

Singapore Exchange (SGX)-listed Nanofilm MZH, which specialises in advanced materials and nanoproducts, was also a high-tech spinoff from NTU.

Expediting licensing and translation of university technologies for spin-off companies

In addition, NTU and NUS will develop a common intellectual property (IP) licensing framework to expedite the licensing and translation of university technologies for spin-off companies. Both universities aim to create a unified online platform to provide potential licensors with a one-stop shop where they can identify and select IPs from both universities that align with their business requirements.

The streamlined approach is expected to enhance companies’ competitiveness through more options such as deferred payment of licensing fees.

According to the joint release put out by NTU, NUS and Temasek, the move will be able to ease the burden of upfront commercialisation costs and reduce the risks associated with translation spending. Firms can then allocate more resources towards commercialising the IP and generating new revenue streams.

“Given NTU’s expertise in key technology areas such as deep tech, biomedical technology, and materials science, we want to accelerate and bridge the gap to industry by means of licensing and spin-offs. I’m confident that together with NUS, Temasek, and Xora, we can develop a powerful innovation ecosystem to support Singapore’s drive to establish a strong knowledge economy, and help our start-ups and SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) compete globally,” says Professor Ho Teck Hua, president of NTU.

“The collaboration sees us synergising our expertise and resources to create opportunities for applications of emerging technologies, and empower start-ups and companies to create positive societal impact and economic growth through innovation. NUS is excited to leverage our rich expertise and experience in entrepreneurship and innovation to help mature our deep tech ecosystem, and facilitate and accelerate IP commercialisation through the framework,” says Professor Tan Eng Chye, president of NUS.

“Temasek and Xora will collaborate with the globally-renowned research communities of the two universities to commercialise high potential early-stage deep tech IP. This is to help accelerate the build out of globally competitive deep tech start-ups from the promising pipeline of Singapore-based research. We will augment this commercialisation effort with global capital, experienced venture builders, and seasoned entrepreneurs from Temasek’s and Xora’s global networks. This strategic partnership is another of Temasek’s initiatives to contribute to and help scale a vibrant deep tech ecosystem in Singapore where world-class deep tech start-ups can thrive,” says Russell Tham, head, emerging technologies and joint head, enterprise development group (Singapore) of Temasek.

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