Lean LaunchPad Singapore helps budding cybersecurity entrepreneurs bring tech to market12/07/2018
Mobile phones, smart watches, smart TVs, fitness trackers, and smart speakers have become indispensable to modern day living. Researchers have predicted that by 2020, there will be more than 24 billion internet-connected devices around the world. This translates to an average of four devices per person. As the number of these Internet of Things (IoT) devices increases, so does the complexity of ensuring the security of personal data generated and stored in them.
Research fellow Van-Thuan Pham from the National University of Singapore’s School of Computing and his team from local start-up IoT365 are working on an automated fuzzing-based testing technology to find bugs and vulnerabilities in IoT devices. He hopes that with their technology, consumers, companies and government agencies can use IoT devices with a greater peace of mind.
Pham said that IoT devices are particularly vulnerable to attacks due to differing communication protocols used in different devices, and the lack of security standards to ensure compliance. “Much of the current testing of IoT devices is manual and ad-hoc, which can leave security loopholes for malicious hackers,” he added.
As a participant of the cybersecurity track of the Lean LaunchPad Singapore programme that was held from April to June, Pham and his team received advice from industry practitioners and investors on how they should first work with a team of white-hat hackers or collaborate with a well-known security testing company, before commercialising their product. Through the programme, they met over 30 potential customers including product manufacturers, system integrators, government agencies and consulting firms.
Local start-up Scantist is another participant of the programme. Scantist offers software composition analysis to detect vulnerabilities and bugs in different platforms and applications. It uncovers vulnerabilities from the onset at the software development stage, which means reduced cyber risks and a faster process for a software to be marketed. Their end-to-end service also offers remediation reports that highlights codes that need to be fixed and suggestions on how fix them.
Scantist was awarded a grant under the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme’s second grant call last year, and currently has a beta product that is offered for trials. Through the Lean LaunchPad Singapore programme, Scantist met a large multinational company who will work with them to conduct further testing and design refinement for market needs. They are now running field trials for evaluation with Fortune500 companies, government agencies as well as smaller start-ups, and the first commercial product will be released in the next few months.
The three other participating teams in the inaugural cybersecurity track were:
– Cloak: A start-up that enables training of AI Models without data leakage. By providing a secure data sharing environment within, for example, a hospital’s server, external data scientists can train AI models without direct access to sensitive raw data of patients.
– CyberSAGE: An integrative security assessment tool for critical infrastructure systems, such as power grids and metros. It is developed by the Advanced Digital Sciences Center, a collaboration between A*STAR Singapore and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
– STRAIT: Security and privacy of sensory data that is captured on cameras like CCTV, body-worn cameras and webcams is
a major concern. Developed by the NTU School of Computer Science and Engineering, STRAIT is a lightweight hardware security module to protect and authenticate high-res camera feeds.
Said Dr Lily Chan, CEO of NUS Enterprise, “We see the new cybersecurity track in the Lean LaunchPad Singapore Programme as a move to strengthen the University’s ability to further nurture home-grown competencies and start-ups in the cybersecurity space.”
Organised by NUS Enterprise and supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Lean LaunchPad programme helps early tech start-ups and publicly-funded research teams learn about technology commercialisation. Participants are mentored by industry practitioners, investors and entrepreneurship educators on how to validate the commercial potential of their innovations, pinpoint target customer segments and understand product development requirements.
This run of Lean LaunchPad Singapore was supported by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore.
This article is reproduced and adapted with permission from the NRF Magazine RIE News (Issue 2 – July 2018).
Lean LaunchPad Singapore Cybersecurity Track Commences25/04/2018
To enhance the pipeline of commercialisable cybersecurity solutions, a track targeted at early stage cybersecurity technologies was launched on 25 April 2018. Open to project teams from Institutes of Higher Learning and publicly-funded research institutes, and young cybersecurity start-ups, this track will strengthen the local technology and innovation ecosystem, and support efforts to boost Singapore’s cyber defences against rising global cyber threats.
Five teams including research teams and start-ups were shortlisted to participate based on their application meeting minimum technology readiness level of 3. Their technologies are:
– CyberSage, a cybersecurity assessment tool developed by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Advanced Digital Sciences Center
– Federated deep learning data protection application by local start-up CLOAK APPS
– IOT365 to test and improve Internet of Things devices by the National University of Singapore
– Smart vulnerability assessment for cyber attack prevention by local start-up Scantist
– STRAIT for secure and privacy-customisable data transmission for Internet of Things by the Nanyang Technological University
The 10-week entrepreneurial education programme will end with the teams’ final presentation on 25 June 2018.
Inaugural National Lean LaunchPad Kicks Off18/08/2017
Modelled on the NSF I-Corps programme, Lean LaunchPad Singapore (LLP Singapore) was launched in 2013 by NUS Enterprise. With the pilot successfully completed, the programme is now scaling up nationally over the next 5 years. This marks a new milestone as other Singapore Institutes of Higher Learning come together with NUS to create a national platform combining educational efforts, entrepreneurial talents and building a shared resource pool of technology commercialisation capabilities to facilitate the commercialisation of technologies out of academic research. The programme, funded by the National Research Foundation, aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem at the national level.
New LLP satellite nodes will be established in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore University of Technology and Design and Singapore Management University. Trained in the LLP pedagogy, they will serve as decentralised sites to conduct the programme within their campuses and catalyse the engagement of academic researchers from all publicly-funded institutes to the programme.
The inaugural cohort commences on 18 August 2017 and has close to 100 participants forming 22 teams grouped into four domain tracks. These teams will go through 10 weeks of customer discovery guided by in-depth industry mentors to help teams validate their market potential for successful commercialisation of their technological innovations. The programme will offer a new grant of SGD10,000 to enable selected teams to further explore and conduct market validation in overseas markets.
The final presentation day will be held on 23 October at The HANGAR by NUS Enterprise, iCube Building.
Silver Sector Solutions Gain Traction And Seed Funding25/11/2016
The finale of the second run of Modern Aging Singapore was held on 25 November 2016. The programme is jointly organised by NUS Enterprise and ACCESS Health International and supported by the Ministry of Health. This year, Modern Aging Singapore saw more than 80 teams sign up for the four-month long programme.
Three teams were awarded a total of SGD$125,000 in seed funding to bring their solutions for the silver sector closer to market. Team FlexoSense and Team Kinexcs were co-recipients of the top honours, each being awarded S$50,000. FlexoSense is developing a flexible pressure sensor technology into a smart insole solution to address diabetic foot ulcers, while Kinexcs is developing a wearable device to remotely track, analyse and monitor the rehabilitation of patients who have undergone lower limb surgery. Team Oxyvel, which is developing a silicone gel sheath to reduce the likelihood of pressure ulcers around the ears for patients using oxygen delivery apparatuses, received S$25,000 in seed funding.
Earlier this year, shortlisted teams embarked upon an entrepreneurial learning journey, which included taking business development courses, mentorship opportunities and workshop participation. The top 10 teams went through Lean LaunchPad Singapore, a programme run by NUS Enterprise, that helps researchers and inventors translate their technologies into commercially viable products.
“This year, we introduced the Lean LaunchPad programme as a new component to Modern Aging Singapore, customising it to address the needs of the silver sector. The teams were enthusiastic about the programme, as it helped validate their ideas, refine their business models and prepare their pitches. This increases the likelihood of the impact and scalability of the teams’ ideas,” said Dr Lily Chan, CEO NUS Enterprise.
“Modern Aging Singapore isn’t just about building better businesses,” said Dr William Haseltine, President and CEO of ACCESS Health International. “It’s about building better and stronger societies that can respond to the needs of a growing number of senior citizens.”
Lean LaunchPad Singapore Scaling Up24/10/2016
The 6th run of LLP (Aug-Oct 2016) drew 27 teams with over 90 participants. There were innovations ranging from food science and biomedical technologies to novel solutions for the silver industry. A new first in the programme were robotic solutions that included an autonomous submersive, an educational software for robotic training “Co-Space”, and the first TCM assistive robot.
Individuals like Darvin Kurniawan, CEO of start-up company REIDAO who aspires to revolutionise real estate investments, quickly found his worldview expanded as “LLP helps me connect to new contacts from a wide array of expertise: faculties, mentors and other participants.”
As the 10 intensive weeks drew to a close, teams reflected on their journey to prepare for the Final Presentations. Participants acknowledged that although they were pushed hard to complete their job to be done, they realised it was necessary for moving forward in their entrepreneurial journey. Siddharth Manoharan, an MBA exchange candidate, commented that “Getting constant feedback from the fellow members and the mentors has impacted me to stay motivated and get things done. The structure of the programme was excellent and pushed and guided us to do what we are supposed to do.”
Hydro Pitch Day 201611/07/2016
At the Singapore International Water Week Hydro Pitch Day on 11 July, six teams from the HydroPreneur Programme (HPP) under Lean LaunchPad Singapore had the opportunity to pitch to the world’s top water companies, venture capitalists and business executives. The HPP, jointly organised by NUS Enterprise and PUB, is an industry-oriented entrepreneurship programme aimed at accelerating commericalisation and nurturing a new generation of water entrepreneurs.
Congratulations to the award winning teams! — WateROAM Integrated UF Membrane System (Most Investment Potential), Electrofenton (Most Disruptive Technology) and BacLum Toxic Sensor from Biosensorix (Rising Hydropreneur Star)
Find out more about their technologies at www.siww.com.sg/teams-introduction
Post-LLP Pitching Session09/03/2016
In addition to the Final Presentations Day after each programme run, a closed door pitching session was conducted on 3 Dec 2015. The pitching session facilitates new as well as potential start-ups from past LLP runs who are seeking early seed and angel funds, partners and advisors. The first in a series of post-LLP pitching sessions to come, the event was well attended by 15 investors which included partners, mentors, accelerators – among them, InvYramid Consulting, Singapore Health Holdings, Red Dot Ventures, Green Meadows Accelerator, Expara, LightStone Venures, just to name a few.
Past LLP teams included YuViTime, CLOP Technologies (spin-off from ASTAR I2R) and aGem, who were among 7 start-ups who participated.
Getting Out of the Labs: Commercialising technology with Lean LaunchPad Singapore01/11/2015
Since the inception of the Lean LaunchPad Singapore (LLP) in 2013, more than 50 research projects and 150 participants have gone through the rigours of the lean methodology to bring their inventions closer to market.
Teams from other Institutions of Higher Learning such as NTU–CREATE, Nanyang Polytechnic, and Singapore Polytechnic also participated in the 4th run of the programme from August to October 2015. The innovations centered around deep technologies that ranged from a pump to a protein assay, a medical device and even a drug formulation.
Throughout the 10-week programme, participants comprising scientists, engineers, researchers and entrepreneurial leads got out of their labs to test and validate their initial assumptions of the market opportunities of their technologies. As one scientist reaffirms “Without those interviews I would not have known about the market niche until after I produced a product that missed the mark.”
The LLP process provided new insights and perspectives on varied fronts, benefitting the teams by improving their understanding of their technology’s relevance through iterations made to improve the inventions.
This unique entrepreneurial experience was augmented by sound advice and guidance from industry mentors, who provided invaluable industry connections.
The 5th run of the programme will feature a Water Technology track in partnership with PUB Hydropreneur Programme and run from January to March 2016. For more information, e-mail: LLPSG@nus.edu.sg
Patenting Technology: Understanding patenting strategies in the commercialisation process05/10/2015
On 21 September 2015, as part of Lean LaunchPad Singapore (LLP), a talk on “Getting the Fundamentals Right: Patenting Your Technology” by Daniel R Collopy from Spruson & Ferguson was organised to help researchers and academics gain insights into how to commercialise their technological innovations.
The sharing by Daniel was an excellent opportunity for researchers to get a basic understanding of the fundamentals of patent protection. The topics covered patenting issues such as patenting strategies, patentability of a technology and the “Freedom-to-Operate”.
Daniel also gave an overview of patent portfolio building and management processes which emphasised the importance of an IP strategy for a company. In addition, he explained the keys to seeking technology feedback while managing public disclosures.
The talk benefitted researchers not just from Faculty of Science but also from the various departments of NUS as well as participants from the LLP programme. Attendees found the topics covered very useful in their commercialisation processes. At the tea-break networking session, the researchers had the chance to discuss further and gathered more related tips from Daniel.
Key Concepts of Lean LaunchPad Methodology23/09/2015
A one-day Lean startup training workshop was conducted for 37 staff and alumni from the various schools and corporate offices of Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), which included the following: School of Business Management, School of Chemical & Life Sciences, School of Design, School of Engineering, School of Interactive & Digital Media, School of Information Technology, School of Health Sciences, Student Affairs Office, Centre for Technology Innovation & Commercialisation, Alumni Relations Office.
The NYP educators were trained by Prof Wong Poh Kam and LLP faculty to provide basic understanding of the key conceptual components of the Lean methodology and enable them to learn how to apply tools such as Business Model Canvas, Competitive Analysis Canvas, Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and Agile Development. The workshop was part of a student entrepreneurship initiative – “I am Enterprising” – organised by the NYP Center for Technology Innovation & Commercialisation. Through the use of actual technology commercialisation cases and hands-on group exercises, the staff learned to discover, validate and iterate a viable commercialisation model for technological invention, to apply these important skills in supervising and mentoring student teams.
Lean LaunchPad@Singapore growing strong16/07/2014
The second run of Lean LaunchPad@Singapore ended in June this year with participation from more than 70 inventors, principal investigators, researchers, post-doctoral and undergraduate students from various fields of study and research areas. They comprised 17 teams with diverse backgrounds such as life sciences, information and communications technology and engineering. Programme co-director, Senior Fellow and Founding Executive Director Emeritus, Lester Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Berkerley, Prof Jerome Engels, along with Prof Wong Poh Kam and NUS teaching faculty formed a panel of five judges during the teams’ final presentations on 9th June 2014 at Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, University Town.
First brought to Asia by NUS Enterprise in June 2013, the second run of the programme saw increased participation from other institutions of higher learning, namely Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Singapore- MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART). The Public Utilities Board (PUB) also arranged for five of the teams in its inaugural Hydropreneur Programme to attend the training.
The 10-week intensive course guided participants through mapping their assumptions (business models), testing these hypotheses with customers and partners outside in the field (customer development) and using an iterative and incremental development methodology (agile development) to build their product.
Two teams from the Lean LaunchPad@Singapore 2013 have since incorporated companies, Liver Solutions Pte and Ltd and Sense Genomics Pte Ltd. Liver Solutions is a medical device company that has received NRF’s Proof of Concept grant and is in the early stage of developing its final prototype. Sense Genomics has developed a coronary artery disease risk assessment algorithm and is the midst of finalising a licensing agreement.
The next run of Lean LaunchPad@Singapore is likely to take place in January 2015.
New with PUB: Hydropreneur Programme06/06/2014
NUS Enterprise and the Public Utility Board (PUB) co-organised the inaugural Hydropreneur Programme, culminating in the Hydro Pitch Day, held on 2nd June 2014 at the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.
The Hydropreneur Programme is a new initiative by PUB to encourage young entrepreneurs to develop ideas and commercialise technologies in the water industry. 17 teams comprising more than 60 members participated in this inaugural run. Water and environmental engineers formed the bulk of the participants complemented by others with electrical engineering backgrounds.
The teams went through a gruelling 10-week programme: a choice of either the Founders Institute or the Lean LaunchPad@Singapore by NUS Enterprise, to refine their ideas. Mentors from the water industry were paired with each team to guide and advise them. All the teams were invited to exhibit their projects at SIWW.
Six teams were also selected to pitch to notable experts from the water industry like Dr Andrew Benedek, Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Anaergia Inc. Of those pitching, three were from NUS. These were GSense, a heavy metal detection device, Wateroam, a portable water filter with ceramic membrane, and Team Orca, an underwater modem.
At the close of the pitching session, prizes were given to the Most Disruptive Innovation, Most Investment Potential and Rising Hydropreneur Star. Team Orca clinched the award for Most Disruptive Innovation while Melvin Tang from Wateroam claimed the Rising Hydropreneur Star Award.
First time in Asia: Lean LaunchPad@Singapore09/01/2014
Lean LaunchPad@Singapore kicked off its pilot programme in NUS in June 2013 with a 3-day bootcamp. Helmed by Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur and academician, Prof Jerry Engel, Senior Fellow and Founding Executive Director Emeritus, Lester Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Berkerley and Prof Wong Poh Kam, Director NUS Entrepreneurship Centre saw an overwhelming participation from both NUS researchers and students. As many as 60 pioneering participants organised themselves into teams, each including at least one Entrepreneurial Lead (who drove the team), one Principal Investigator (who was the inventor or is knowledgeable of the technology that the team chooses) and one Mentor (who facilitates the learning process).
These teams aimed to bring different technologies developed within NUS laboratories closer to market, in the form of a patented technology, a licensed innovation or a start-up company. Over 10 intensive weeks, teams alternated between attending class lectures, conducting interviews and updating their business model canvas.
“The Lean LaunchPad programme helped us focus on users of our technologies, our core value propositions, and time/activities management. We learned and unlearned many things by talking with potential end users and related industries, as well as getting honest feedback from instructors and mentors,” said Nguyen Vu Thanh, who was part of a team that developed a mobile app for zoomable, interactive videos. Other technologies included a coronary artery disease risk assessment tool, a test for checking water quality and a medical device to assist liver surgery.
Back by popular demand, NUS Enterprise is bringing you Lean LaunchPad Programme@Singapore again in 2014. This programme runs from April to June 2014.