Business incubator Nest to launch health care startup accelerator in Singapore

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 November, 2015, 12:39pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 November, 2015, 12:39pm

Hong Kong business incubator Nest is extending its reach to Singapore with a health care start-up accelerator in partnership with AIA and Konica Minolta.

The AIA-Konica Minolta acclerator will take on up to 10 companies for a 12-week programme focused on digital health products to be run by Nest.

“We have already been working very closely with brands like AIA in Hong Kong and the natural progression is to continue the success of the formula that we’ve got in Singapore,” said Simon Squibb, founder and chief executive officer of Nest.

Nest partnered with AIA on a similar health care technology start-up accelerator programme in Hong Kong in March and has now welcomed a second batch of companies.

Nest’s new Singapore office is the latest in a global expansion which has seen the company build a presence in Nairobi, Kenya, Paris, London, San Francisco within the past year and is set to open an office in New York.

In January, Nest announced it was partnering with Level39, a technology accelerator based in London’s Canary Wharf, to assist the global ambitions of Hong Kong and British financial technology companies.

Nest’s Singapore operation is headed by entrepreneur Ash Singh who said he will bring much of what he teaches in his start-up boot camp class at business school Insead to Nest’s programmes in Singapore.

“Our focus here in Singapore is going to be on the corporate accelerator market,” Singh said. “We have another flagship accelerator that will be launching within the next couple of months.”

To date, Nest has invested in 53 start-ups and assisted more than 200 companies through accelerator programmes.

AIA is one of Asia’s leading life insurance companies while Konica Minolta develops digital imaging and medical diagnostics technology.

Health care technology is an important focus for Asia as many countries face an ageing population or have poor health infrastructure.

Government spending on health care in Singapore is expected to hit SG$12 billion (US$8.42 billion) annually in 2020 from an estimated SG$7.3 billion in 2014.

“This launch is yet another extension of AIA’s strong belief in the power of Collaborative Innovation to help manage healthcare costs in Singapore and create value for families here,” said Patrick Teow, Chief Executive Officer at AIA Singapore.

Like Hong Kong, Singapore is seeing an increased interest in start-ups and entrepreneurship.

Venture capital investments in Singapore reached US$1 billion in 2014, up from US$454 million in 2013, according to the Singapore Venture Capital and Private Equity association.