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ST Engineering sets up US$150m corporate venture capital unit


ST ENGINEERING has set up a corporate venture capital unit to invest in promising technology startups and early-stage companies.

Announcing this on Tuesday, it said that it has set aside US$150 million in its coffers through ST Engineering Ventures, which will scout for and invest in startups that are developing new technologies or creating innovative solutions complementary to the group's capabilities in higher growth areas such as robotics, autonomous technology, data analytics and cyber security.

And it will not just be funding that the group is offering, but also access to the group's business network and distribution channels, it said.

"Scouted startups will be able to integrate into the group's ecosystems for broader business capabilities to compete globally as well as tap on the group's technological expertise," it said.

ST Engineering will set up technology scouting offices in Singapore, Israel and in the US for a start, to cover the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Europe and Middle East and the Americas.

The defence and engineering group added that it was also setting up an open innovation lab to offer individuals and startups the opportunity to see their ideas go to market.

Called Innosparks, the lab at JTC LaunchPad @ one-north, is the "first of its kind" engineering-based incubator in Singapore. It offers a pool of skilled engineers, on top of advanced equipment and labs to support innovators in accelerating the development of their ideas to prototypes and products.

The Open Lab has opened its doors to engineers from ST Engineering, as well as to startups and early-stage companies locally and internationally to collaborate, research and develop new concepts with an expert team of engineers.

It includes facilities such as a mechanical and control lab, electronics and electrical lab, material and chemical lab, software lab and design lab, and a full suite of prototyping and development equipment.

Both initiatives have the endorsement of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Vincent Chong, president and chief executive officer of ST Engineering, said: "We are not looking for one-hit wonders but breakthrough innovations that will either strengthen our current portfolio of businesses or generate new lines of businesses.

"This requires astute technology investments and partnerships, a pervasive culture of innovation and an environment where our engineers can brainstorm freely outside of business and operational constraints to develop new ideas and solutions."

Both developments are not expected to have any material impact on the group's consolidated net tangible assets and earnings per share for the current financial year, it said.

ST Engineering closed one cent higher at S$3.77 on Tuesday.