15 start-ups get $6m in grants from Spring

15 start-ups get $6m in grants from Spring

If you have longed for a way to have home-made chapati without having to go through the laborious preparatory process, your wish might be closer to being fulfilled.

Zimplistic, a local start-up, is developing the world's first fully automatic flatbread maker with some financing help from Spring Singapore.

It is one of fifteen start-ups that have been awarded grants totalling $6 million by Spring Singapore, which aims to help these firms further develop technologies that, when commercialised, are potentially market-changing intellectual property.

Spring Singapore said in a statement on Thursday that the projects cover a wide spectrum of areas, including medical devices, electronics, engineering, water and environment, as well as infocommunications.

Some of them are proprietary ideas that these start-ups want to develop for commercial purposes.

For these projects, Spring provides funding support of up to 100 per cent of the qualifying costs for each project, up to a maximum of $250,000.

Others already have a technically or scientifically viable concept, and wish to carry out more development work or even come up with a working prototype to affirm the commercial viability of a concept. For these projects, Spring provides funding support of up to 85 per cent of the qualifying costs for each project, up to a maximum of $500,000.

This funding support falls under its Technology Enterprise Commercialisation Scheme (TECS).

Said Chew Mok Lee, assistant chief executive of Spring: "The TECS provides funding during the critical, pre-market stages to bridge the gap between an innovative technology idea and the market. Technology start-ups face particular difficulties in commercialising their products or services due to the risks involved in the R&D of new and potentially marketchanging technologies."

Zimplistic's CEO Rishi Kumar is hopeful that the grant from Spring will help the firm to bring its flat bread maker, The Rotimatic, to the market.

He said: "Key to the project is the development of a sensing system that can adapt to various flour types, which have different water absorption characteristics and capacities. Finetuning this technology requires high risks and R&D costs, but the grant has helped us to manage these and improve our chances of success."

Another firm that received funding support from Spring is T.Ware, which is developing a therapy system to calm autism patients, who tend to go into uncontrollable fits.

The idea is that its T.Jacket will simulate a deep pressure massage, and a therapist can customise the rhythm and pressure of the "hug" of the jacket according to the patient's needs. This could also mean that only a single therapist is needed to attend to many patients at the same time.

Said James Teh, founder and executive director of T.Ware: "While we are still in the early stages of starting up, we believe our idea is very promising and we have a strong team to see the project through. The grant supports our R&D process to build and test the prototype with actual patients, in particular children with autism.

"When commercialised, the T.Jacket will be the first in the world to give autism patients comforting 'hugs' at the touch of a smartphone. It is convenient for both the wearer and the caregiver to use, and contributes to the patient's overall well-being."

Spring has supported more than 150 projects since TECS was launched in 2008. Recent start-ups which were supported include Sofshell, Clearbridge Biomedics and Endomaster, which have gone on to win international awards and ventured into overseas markets with their market changing technologies.

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