IPI, a Singapore-based organization, is an innovation catalyst creating opportunities for startups, SMEs and enterprises to grow beyond boundaries. As IPI celebrates a decade of impact since its set-up in 2011, CEO Wong Lup Wai shares the organization’s role in bringing success for enterprises through technological interventions and advisory programs.
Wong Lup Wai, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) IPI, is a trained Civil Engineer and a seasoned professional. He joined IPI in September 2019. He had donned many hats, including senior leadership roles, including Chief Operating Officer at the Singapore Sports Hub and Group Executive Vice President and Group Chief Operating Officer at Hyflux.
He had worked for 25 years with Philips Electronics Singapore. While working with the company, he spent three years as the Operations Manager at Philip’s joint venture factory in Suzhou, China. His stint as Managing Director of Philips Singapore was from 2009 to 2012. As a CEO, he is currently driving the team at IPI, which is a subsidiary of Enterprise Singapore.
This year, IPI also celebrates its flagship technology brokerage event – TechInnovation. The event brings together international enterprises and technology providers to accelerate the commercialization of emerging technologies, seed licensing opportunities and foster open innovation collaborations. This digital event will take place from 28 to 30 September 2021.
Wong Lup Wai, in conversation with AsiaTechDesk, talks about IPI’s purpose, its various programs and TechInnovation 2021.
Would you please tell us about your organization IPI’s objectives and offerings?
IPI’s purpose is to create opportunities for enterprises to grow through innovation. IPI can help technology seekers (i.e., companies) address their innovation challenges as a neutral party. It also fills the technical expertise gaps by scouting for technologies from its global network of technology providers and pool of vetted Tech Experts that can help enterprises.
For Singapore-based start-ups and SMEs that wish to pivot into new business areas, IPI’s Innovation Advisors Programme offers access to industry veterans who advise on leveraging technology and innovation for go-to-market strategies across sectors like Food, Medtech, Digital, Aerospace, and Logistics.
Supporting enterprises along their innovation journey is a team of multidisciplinary Technology and Innovation Managers who are well-versed in the intricacies of technology commercialization. They will offer advice and help the companies navigate the complexities and tap into the local innovation ecosystem to find suitable partners and solutions to address organic capabilities and translational gaps.
How do startups benefit from IPI’s services and initiatives?
Startups can gain access to IPI’s insights, advisory and open innovation services that serve the different needs throughout the stages of their scaling-up journey. IPI’s vast network of industry and technology partners opens many opportunities for cross-sector and cross-border innovation partnerships.
Eligible Singapore-based startups and SMEs can tap into a pool of Innovation Advisors, experienced industry professionals who possess strong technical expertise, connections and business acumen to achieve accelerated growth.
Companies searching for the technical expertise to enhance or complement their in-house capabilities can widen their network and tap into a pool of experienced technical experts from different sectors and domains. Businesses can consult and engage our tech experts to solve technical challenges encountered in various stages of their product development journey.
Startups exhibiting at TechInnovation will have the opportunity to demonstrate and pitch technologies for commercialization or co-development to technology seekers and connect with potential collaborators through B2B meetings.
Startups can expand their outreach and tap into IPI’s Innovation Marketplace to post a brief write-up of their technology and leverage IPI’s global network to market their technology to potential customers. Similarly, they can explore technology needs from organizations that are seeking innovative solutions from technology providers.
Can you provide case studies of few startups working with IPI in the past?
(a) MooVita and Sioux Technologies
MooVita, a local autonomous vehicle startup, was looking to expand to the larger European market and develop a full-stack External Human-Machine Interfaces (eHMI) software that helps Autonomous Vehicles socially interact with the public. With assistance from IPI, the company participated in the EUREKA GlobalStars-Singapore Joint Innovation Call in 2019. It was successfully paired with Dutch multidisciplinary high-tech solution provider Sioux Technologies, a human-machine interface (HMI) department. Together, they have collaborated to improve communications between AVs and passengers and research the design and production of multilingual messaging hardware.
(b) Bountifood and National University of Singapore
Singapore-based food tech startup Bountifood unlocked new opportunities by participating at TechInnovation in 2017. They licensed a food technology solution that could lower the GI of starch-rich food items like bread and rice from the National University of Singapore (NUS). After licensing, they were able to accelerate product development and time-to-market significantly. They launched Carbolight, a new product that lowers starch digestibility, slows down sugar release in 2018, and collaborated with DayFood Plus Food to incorporate Carbolight into buns that reduce the rate of sugar release in the body.
What are some of your current focus areas?
After repositioning our value proposition and building a new brand identity last year, we are making strides to take on a more significant role beyond an intermediary – we will help more enterprises transform through innovation with a more holistic end-to-end support for enterprises – from ideation, product development to commercialization.
We will continue to engage actively with partners from different industries to explore innovation opportunities. This year at TechInnovation 2021, we are focusing on the theme ‘A Sustainable and Resilient Future’ and will showcase enabling technologies in sustainable development, food security and health and wellness.