The Small World Group, managed by Frank Levinson and his partner, Dean Haritos, is one of the seven designated technology venture incubators from the National Research Foundation (NRF) TIS Scheme. The technology focus of this company is on clean tech, optics and materials and it has begun operations in Singapore to start working with entrepreneurs to bring new tech companies to market. We sat down with Frank Levinson, one of the partners in Small World Group and chat with him on several subjects, from how he started Small World Group to the type of entrepreneurs which the incubator will be interested to fund. He will also share some of the earlier success stories he has with regards to incubation of tech companies and talks about the future plans of the Small World Group in Singapore. Read more
Two Singapore venture funds joined US-based (Sunnyvale, California) Innovalight as investors in the latter’s series D of financing. EDB Investments (EDBI) led the USD 18 million round, with another Singapore venture firm, Vertex Venture Holdings joining in, together with existing investors Apax Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Convexa Capital, Harris & Harris Group, Sevin Rosen Funds and Triton Ventures. Read more
If you want to check out some clean tech companies in Singapore, and find out more about the latest R&D developments, you might want to attend the CleanTech Big Pitch 2009. Read more
Asia’s energy consumption represents one third of the world’s, yet this demand has not been met. This has been a problem as energy consumption has generally been on the rise in Asia over the last 40 years. But with the increasing urbanization of Asia, and especially that of China and India, this consumption is expected to rise further. This is no new news.
There is a need to meet this increasing energy demand and we have always looked to oil in fulfilling this demand. But oil consumption is unsustainable. There has been no new major oilfield discovery in the last couple of years. Even though there have been small finds in Brazil fairly recently, these finds would not solve the world’s energy consumption problem. However, there might be ways to produce more oil, but these methods would lead to oil costing $200-$300 a barrel. This price tag for energy just does not represent financially viable solutions as of now. Thus, there is obviously a great urgent need to find better ways of trying to meet the huge energy demand of Asia.
Asia’s increasing urbanization also means increasing urban transportation. As transportation is a significant source of CO2, transport-related CO2 is expected to increase steadily because of China and India. The negative impact on the environment is ever-increasing.
Oil is cheap now. (Click picture to enlarge.)
But change is happening. More and more electric vehicles are on the roads. However, this change is not as fast as one might have hoped for. For example, it takes up to 12 hours to charge a car before you can take it out on the roads; whereas the time needed to charge scooters can take only an hour. This inconvenience does not make it viable for many people to switch to electric cars even if they are interested to do so. This means a greater challenge for clean energy entrepreneurs as it is often not the case that the technology is not ready and commercially viable, but that they are not consumer-friendly yet.
Investment opportunity. (Click picture to enlarge.)
Another interesting question posed from the floor was whether the airline industry is following suit with the move towards clean energy. Airliners are more complicated than scooters and cars because they need much more energy to move a lot more mass through the sky. Fuel needed thus needs to strike a balance between the ability to provide this energy as well as weight. Oil, being a very dense fuel and being relatively light, is a good choice for airlines. However, because of the airline industry’s special fuel needs, it is harder for airlines to adopt clean tech right away. The example of the first commercial test flight by Virgin Atlantic Airways using jet fuel made with coconut oil and and Brazilian babassu nuts was a successful one. Perhaps in time to come, we’ll be able to fly without leaving a carbon footprint!
Speaker is Ron Mahabir from Asia Cleantech Capital.
This initiative called “Asia Forum for Clean Energy Financing” seeks to nurture individuals/teams/startup companies with environmentally beneficial business proposals with the eventual hope of transforming them into reality. Read more