Bosch launches S-E Asian innovation hub in Singapore, in partnership with EDB New Ventures

Bosch South-east Asia president Martin Hayes (in black) speaking at the firm's innovation hub launch on July 28, 2021. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - German giant Bosch has launched its South-east Asia innovation hub in Singapore, as it seeks to develop a regional collaboration network for start-ups.

Its in-house innovation and start-up incubation platform, Grow, was set up in partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board's (EDB) corporate venture building arm, EDB New Ventures.

The innovation hub was officially unveiled on Wednesday (July 28), and it seeks to launch at least five new ventures in Singapore by 2023.

Bosch also announced its first spin-off company under Grow, aquaculture start-up AquaEasy, had secured multi-million dollar funding from the German firm and EDB New Ventures. The home appliance and tech firm declined to disclose the specific investment amount.

AquaEasy has tapped Bosch's capabilities in sensor development to develop its aqua farming solution, which combines sensors, software and analytics to improve farming yield and predictability.

Its solution, which is able to track water quality and whether shrimps are fed enough, has been deployed at shrimp farms, including local aquaculture firm Qian Hu, as well as other farms in Indonesia and Vietnam.

AquaEasy co-founder Ivan Tay said the company has run three rounds of tests with Qian Hu, and it seeks to expand into other markets such as Thailand and India in the next few years.

Mr Choo Heng Tong, executive vice-president of new ventures and innovation at EDB, said: "Our joint investment into AquaEasy reflects the strong market potential in Asia where the majority of global shrimp production takes place.

"As a corporate venture, AquaEasy leverages Bosch's deep sensor and AI (artificial intelligence) expertise for its competitive edge, and is well-positioned to tap into this market from Singapore."

About 30 intrapreneurs are currently working on start-up projects within Grow, which seeks to establish a conducive ecosystem for them to develop their business ideas, Bosch said.

The launch of Grow on Wednesday was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, National Research Foundation permanent secretary Chan Lai Fung and EDB's Mr Choo.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat feeding aquaculture-reared shrimp on July 28, 2021. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The innovation hub's partners include institutes of higher learning such as the National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University, as well as multi-national corporations like British-headquartered Standard Chartered Bank and testing and certification company Bureau Veritas.

Mr Karsten Roenner, global head of Grow, said Singapore's combination of strong Government support in innovation and an organic network of founders, investors and mentors makes the Republic an ideal test bed for its innovation platform.

"Singapore is not only able to enhance domestic start-ups through fast pace and ever-evolving ecosystem, but also to build new ventures that see the entire Asian market as a focus area," he said.

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