Reported by Joyce Sidopoulos, Co-Founder and Chief of Operations at MassRobotics
I took advantage of a stopover in Singapore while on summer holiday to visit with a few robotics startups and learn about Singapore’s startup ecosystem.
My tour began with a visit to Eureka Robotics, who provides software and systems to automate tasks that require simultaneously High Accuracy and High Agility (HA-HA), across industries, from optics, to electronics, to automotive. They were part of our 2021 Healthcare Catalyst Program Cohort 1, showcasing their technology at the Robotics Summit in Boston in 2022 and joined MassRobotics as a resident at that time. They built a work cell in our Industrial Automation lab to showcase their High Accuracy and High Agility (#HAHA) technology.
A few buildings away was Weston Robot where Yanliang Zhang, Chief Scientist (longtime acquaintance from his days at The MathWorks in Natick and part of the early Boston Robotics Cluster) showed their many robots, from large industrial cleaners, outdoor lawn mowing robots, and water and harbor cleaning aquatic robots to delivery robotics and STEM robotic skits. I even received a coffee made by their robotics barista!
I was joined by longtime friend Emily Carrington, Professor at the University of Washington, an expert in comparative biomechanics and the bio-inspired design of materials and structures that work in wet, salty environments.
On our way to lunch, we stopped at another early stage startup Techssisted Surgical who provide a robotic solution for microsurgery by performing real-time compensation of erroneous movement of the instrument tooltip caused by physiological hand tremor. Techssisted Surgical’s innovative handheld microsurgery robot will improve the operation’s accuracy, reduce the risk of patients’ complications, and enhance the surgeon’s surgical experience, as well as minimize the impact of surgeon’s daily life, extend the high performance period of surgeon’s career. We were able to tryout the tech first hand.
Yanliang treated us to lunch at an open air food truck type market where we were joined by Ruixiang Du. During lunch and over conversation we learned that Ruixiang was a former PhD student of our friend Professor Taskin Padir (Northeastern University) when he was at WPI….small world for sure!
After lunch we walked to the offices of Open Robotics and enjoyed discussion around Open RMF with Grey and Matthew Festo. We received great tips from Grey and Matthew on sites to visit and places to eat!
Overall, the startup ecosystem – including robotics – in Singapore is vibrant. Much of this is due to heavily subsidized government support. Individual suites in the area we visited are affordable and companies receive subsidized rent for up to 5 years, allowing startups to focus on their technology. There’s areas for “graduated” startups as well, with shared infrastructure including kitchen and meeting space.
Here’s more information I found on Singapore’s startup ecosystem:
- The Evolution and State of Singapore’s Start-up Ecosystem, report citing: Lessons for Emerging Market Economies published by The World Bank Group
- Singapore’s start-up ecosystem gets more vibrant as Multinational Companies pitch in, article published by ECB Singapore in March 2022
- A close look at Singapore’s thriving startup ecosystem, Toni Eliasz, Jamil Wyne, TechCrunch published in August 2021