Deep Tech and Open Innovation Collaboration: Interview Hello Tomorrow Singapore

ISSUE #67 – Launched at Viva Tech, the convention in Paris dedicated to technological innovation and start-ups, the Singapore outpost of Hello Tomorrow seeks to support development of deep tech-based innovations in Singapore and the region. Ernest Xue (pictured below), Head of Hello Tomorrow Singapore, shares more.


Do introduce us to Hello Tomorrow.

Hello Tomorrow is a global non-profit on a mission to accelerate deep-tech research and entrepreneurship to solve the world’s toughest challenges, and to bring world-changing innovation to commercial scale. We bring together a community of actors who believe that science and advanced technology can contribute to shaping a better tomorrow.

Supported by deep networks and expertise, Hello Tomorrow hosts international summits and challenges, as well as accelerator and consulting programmes structured to unearth innovations, facilitate knowledge transfer and bring deep-tech innovations from lab to market successfully.

Within Singapore and the region, we accelerate the transfer of breakthrough technologies into real-world solutions by:

  • introducing and building a global actionable network for deep-tech entrepreneurs, facilitating earnest conversation and collaboration among contributors aiming to make breakthrough innovation an everyday reality;
  • encouraging problem-driven innovation; and
  • stimulating public interest in and discussion of deep-tech developments, and their possibilities and impact.



What are the first steps in this Singapore & Southeast Asian chapter?

Our immediate goal is to identify the most promising deep-tech start-ups and research-backed Proof-of-concepts (PoC) coming out from the universities, research institutions and innovation ecosystems of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. To achieve this, the team has been actively building a team of Curators – individuals who sit deep within the innovation ecosystems of their respective countries and are able to identify and influence science-entrepreneurs from the ground up. Alongside, we have been building as well as forming ecosystem partnerships with relevant government agencies and the most significant research/innovation institutions in the region, to ensure support and awareness from the top-down.

Strong, committed corporate stakeholders are crucial to the development of deep technologies and their route to market. Without access to business expertise, talent and facilities, deep-tech start-ups often fail to reach market in a meaningful manner. We have been actively building corporate partnerships with stakeholders who are genuinely interested in deep-tech innovation and its ability to ensure they are able to best deliver value to their customers. The pace of change in technology has been accelerating rapidly and it is a challenge staying ahead of the curve. As a non-profit, Hello Tomorrow is able to act as a strong yet neutral knowledge and sourcing platform to deliver value to all participants within our ecosystem.

We welcome all interested persons to speak with us! Happy to have a coffee and chat.



Are there distinctly different local needs and challenges in deep-tech innovation here when compared to say, “global” ones?

Our region of coverage, which includes Southeast Asia (SEA) and Hong Kong (HK) sees a whole range of needs and maturity levels concerning technology development and adoption. We are firm believers that the innovations emerging from each country tend to reflect the different realities and challenges faced by the innovators behind them. As such, innovations in deep-tech emerging from our region, which can by and large be considered as part of the developing world, are starkly different from those emerging from France, for example, where our global headquarters sit.

Outside of the more developed countries within our regional coverage, the lack of on-the-ground structural support for research can be an impediment to the emergence of deep-tech innovation. The needs however, are not any less acute. Quality of life issues such as healthcare, sanitation, access to food, energy and logistics are key concerns within most of SEA. Drones for vaccine delivery to rural populations, small-holder farmer enablement, next-generation power storage and distribution capabilities are all innovations that require intensive research and engineering efforts. We are fortunate to have ambitious scientists and engineers from start-ups such as Yonah (drones)  and Grainsense (handheld protein measurement for crops) working on these solutions.

Deep-tech needs from more developed countries tend to be driven by advancements from large industry and deep-tech needs in less developed countries tend to be driven by the need to improve living standards.



Read also: Diving into the Deep: An Interview with Founding CEO of SGInnovate, Steve Leonard


See also: The French Chamber’s Asia Startup Summit 2018 on 13-14 December 2018

On 13-14 December 2018, the French Chamber in Singapore, together with La French Tech, in collaboration with the French Chambers’ network in Asia, presents its first Asia Startup Summit. Consisting of a Tech and Innovation Conference, startup demos, B2B business-matching meetings, networking opportunities, it is the event to connect corporates and startups. For more information on the event and registration.



Interview with Ernest Xue, Head, Hello Tomorrow Singapore

Published in FOCUS Magazine — Issue #3 2018 “The Innovation Issue