Ascent Solutions gets boost from capital injections

Mr Lim says Ascent plans to invest more in technology and penetrate deeper and faster into markets in China as well as in South and Latin America.
Mr Lim says Ascent plans to invest more in technology and penetrate deeper and faster into markets in China as well as in South and Latin America.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Funds from Heliconia, Delta Electronics will help logistics firm expand and extend reach

It has been a good month for Ascent Solutions. The six-year-old logistics firm received a mention in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech and, yesterday, it announced it had received capital injections from two firms.

The funds came from investment company Heliconia Capital Management and Delta Electronics International (Singapore), a unit of Delta Electronics Taiwan.

Heliconia and Delta Electronics will take a "significant minority" stake, said Ascent co-founder and chief executive Lim Chee Kean.

"This is not the first time Ascent has received external investments. We are very seasoned in terms of fund-raising. But the difference here is that we see Heliconia and Delta helping us more in terms of market outreach and technology," he told The Straits Times.

Delta provides innovative and energy-efficient power products and solutions for everything from rail transport to green buildings, Mr Lim noted, making it a valuable collaborator.

DIFFERENT ASPECTS

We are very seasoned in terms of fund-raising. But the difference here is that we see Heliconia and Delta helping us more in terms of market outreach and technology.

MR LIM CHEE KEAN, Ascent co-founder and chief executive.

"Heliconia has a big portfolio of companies of its own and is Temasek-linked, which can help us with market outreach. In fact, we've already been introduced to some big multinationals through Heliconia and are talking to them now," he added.

Of course, it helps that Ascent has a service worth talking about. The firm developed a container tracking device called iSpot that allows round-the-clock monitoring, prevents theft and speeds up the Customs clearance process.

It took the device to East Africa, with support from trade agency IE Singapore, and there are now 10,000 iSpots in Kenya and Tanzania. It used to take 20 days for a container to travel from Kenya to Uganda, but iSpot has helped cut this down to two days.

With the capital it has just received, Ascent plans to invest even more in technology and penetrate deeper and faster into markets in China as well as in South and Latin America.

"Markets where security is an issue tend to welcome our solutions. There are a lot of opportunities in these places for us," said Mr Lim.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline 'Ascent Solutions gets boost from capital injections'. Print Edition | Subscribe