The overlooked mechanics in Deep Tech transformation: investor-startup fundraising

2020.08.28

Wisia Neo

NEWS

TAIGER’s CEO and Founder Sinuhe Arroyo presents on Deep Tech Fundraising with SGInnovate and Qualgro

 

Singapore, 26 August 2020—TAIGER’s CEO and Founder, Sinuhe Arroyo, represented the deep tech startup community in an insightful panel discussion on Deep Tech Fundraising in Southeast Asia. The online event was organized by SGInnovate and Qualgro, with over 100 live participants and five presenters coming from a breadth of portfolios. Where Sinuhe took the lead in offering the founder perspective in the deep tech startup industry, Venture Investing Director of SGInnovate Victor Tan, Investor at Qualgro Neo Wei Sheng and Head of Corporate Venturing of Philips Anselm Tan further built on the engaging discussion using their critical investor lens. The panel was avidly moderated by Maria Li, Chief Operating Officer for Tech in Asia—one of the leading digital media publications covering Asia’s Tech and startup scene. The discussion was professional and full of buzz, with each speaker offering thorough vocational and personal insight.

“I remember when I started—the first two years—I had no salary. Zero.” – Sinuhe Arroyo

Like many new players, TAIGER was once subject to an arduous uphill climb. This lends the company a firm understanding of a startup’s growth trajectory, and how to leverage the intricately linked multifarious players in the larger deep tech ecosystem. Each interdependent stakeholder in this community holds a unique role in shaping deep tech transformation—stemming from the startup itself to users, governments, corporations and even researchers. Yet, one key stakeholder relationship in the broad ecosystem—between the startups and investors—often doesn’t get enough “airtime” despite being central in a startup’s survivability from liftoff up to maturity. Not many budding founders understand the scope of the challenge in commercializing their technology, nor have accurate expectations in financing their startup with sustainable business models.

Concurrently, the fundamental mismatches in the proficiencies of investors versus startups likewise impact investors. They lack the technical know-how in navigating the deep-tech space. As aptly framed by the organizers from SGInnovate and Qualgro,

“Deep Tech startups often struggle to secure funding with investors who may not have the expertise and knowledge to understand the value of their technologies. At the same time, many investors tend to shy away from Deep Tech companies because they see them as ‘moonshots,’ cash burn- intensive and challenging to support in the long run.”

It is a process that is convoluted, freight with uncertainty, and yet extremely stake heavy. The panel discussion was hence an imperative platform to explore the technicalities of deep tech fundraising, by having the two primary stakeholders collaborate in discourse.

With these agendas in mind, the hour-long panel discussion unpacked the topic into several organized conversations. These included the identification of differentiating factors in deep tech startups from both the founder and investor perspectives, and what investors really care about in evaluating startup opportunities. The discussion also touched on the salient risks for deep tech startups at various funding series and the mechanics behind building a sustainable investor-startup relationship, amongst many others technical topics. Panelists also pondered the growth trajectory of the community in light of trends and economic climate before a live Q&A session with attendees.

Above all, TAIGER is heartened for the opportunity to lend a guiding hand to the broader deep tech ecosystem. It is a community where all stakeholders are interwoven, and our steps must be taken with synchronicity in this deep tech transformation journey.

View the full video: Explaining Deep Tech Fundraising in Southeast Asia.

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