Aussie tech firm gets funding boost from Singtel arm, SIA

The fresh investment has given Singtel a seat on the board of Data Republic, an Australian tech start-up that provides technology services for organisations to share data securely and privately. Data Republic declined to disclose the amounts invested
The fresh investment has given Singtel a seat on the board of Data Republic, an Australian tech start-up that provides technology services for organisations to share data securely and privately. Data Republic declined to disclose the amounts invested by individual backers.ST FILE PHOTO

Sydney-based Data Republic raises $22.2m in funding round led by Innov8

Australian tech start-up Data Republic is set to grow its footprint here with the help of fresh funds from investors such as Singtel's Innov8 and Singapore Airlines (SIA).

The Sydney-based firm said yesterday that it has raised A$22 million (S$22.2 million) in a Series B funding round led by Innov8 - Singtel's corporate venture capital arm, which has a US$250 million (S$341 million) war chest. The fresh investment has given Singtel a seat on the board, added Data Republic, but it declined to disclose the amounts invested by individual backers.

Other investors named were existing shareholders Qualgro, a venture capital fund co-founded by former Innov8 director Peter Huynh, as well as ANZ, Reinventure and Ryder Capital's Ryder Innovation Fund.

SIA said in a separate bourse filing that it has picked up a minority stake in Data Republic through the placement of new shares, in what it billed as "a move to further enhance its digital capabilities".

The airline said it will work with Data Republic and other partners "to provide organisations with a practical means to collaborate and innovate at speed".

OCBC senior investment analyst Low Pei Han, citing a data breach at SIA rival Cathay Pacific Airways where the personal information of 9.4 million passengers was stolen, noted that "it is perhaps of little surprise that companies want to ensure that they are adequately prepared to cope in an increasingly digitalised world".

Mr George Wang, SIA's senior vice-president of information technology, said: "Our investment in Data Republic highlights our commitment to data innovation through a platform which leverages technology to ensure data security and privacy and further enhance our digital capabilities."

SIA noted in mid-2017 that it would lift IT spending in the face of tough operating conditions, committing "several hundreds of millions" of dollars over five years.

Data Republic, which began operations two years ago, provides technology services for organisations to share data securely and privately. It expanded into Asia with the opening of an office in Singapore in June.

Chief executive Paul McCarney said in a statement that the support from the two Singapore blue chips "demonstrates the growing importance of privacy and the increasing global need for technology which supports secure, inter-organisational data sharing across markets".

"We welcome our new partners and thank existing investors for their continued support of Data Republic's technology and vision."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2018, with the headline 'Aussie tech firm gets funding boost from Singtel arm, SIA'. Print Edition | Subscribe