AMS Spring 2023

Startup Accelerator, Singapore: Bioprinted Meat, Dental 3D Printing, and Security

Inkbit

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In this ongoing review of startup companies in Singapore we still have more startups to share!

Shiok Meats

Shiok Meats is a cell-based sea food company that acquired Gaia Foods, Asia’s first red meat cell-derived foods firm. The combined entity uses shrimp cells that are grown in cultures to produce sea food snacks. Shiok uses 3D printing to add texture to the foods that they make. So far, the firm has raised over $20 million and wants to commercialize its technology in 2022.

Cell-based agriculture, cultured meat, and lab-grown meat are a huge potential market. Startups are getting a lot of attention and serious funding to operate in this area. Commercialization is set to be a rather expensive affair. Also, this market risks being quite a slog and a titanic battle of funding, rather than technology. But the prize is huge.

Shiok seems very well-placed to tackle sea food specifically, an area which has seen comparatively little in the way of competition. But, this space is full of entrepreneurs and businesses that have grown quickly to be behemoths, like Impossible Foods. It will be difficult to see right now if this comparative minnow can succeed. However, I really like the founding team and, in a frothy exuberant market segment, they have remained truthful and direct about their prospects, which is a very good sign indeed.

Structo3D

Structo3D is a company started in Singapore in 2012. With a focus on dental, the firm aims to tackle the mass customization market. They offer a package complete with materials, scanner and printer for dentists and also have a high volume manufacturing solution. Using MSLA they have a fast, compact solution for offices, but also a robotic arm based solution for larger volumes. The company offers clear aligner, orthodontic modeling, dental modeling, and retainer materials. It has customers, such as Zenyum, and a global customer base.

Can the firm stave off the very many low-cost Chinese SLA printers, however? To what extent will new entrants threaten its corner of the world? I really like that the company offers a small printer for beginning dental 3D printing operations in a relatively straightforward way. At the same time, they’ll make you larger scale, custom manufacturing solutions, if you require many more parts. The specialization in dental will allow them to grow, but can the firm make the leap to mass customization? I think that betting on resin as an end-use material would be complex, given the safety issues and cost. But for body-specific customization—especially those serving as an intermediate for thermoforming—the company may very well have a good solution. This is underexploited outside of dental and you can already imagine a lot of possibilities in headphones, custom grips, and custom sports gear using thermoforming and 3D printing. It will take a lot of convincing, but the company may yet break through to much larger volumes.

Secur3DP+

Secur3DP+ is a subsidiary of Intellectual Ventures, so there are roughly two ways of looking at this startup. Either it offers a blockchain-enabled, secure method for sharing and using 3D printing files that will enable assured 3D printing for critical applications, or, if you’re of a different mind, you could see it as an evil patent troll muscling its way into the 3D printing space by trying to become the arbiter of when something was invented, essentially owning a system to determine the origin of IP rights. Transaction-based platforms deploying truth through blockchain are becoming prevalent. We do not yet know if they will be efficient ways of securing IP and dealing with all manner of transactions, but, given Intellectual Ventures’ heft, this company is sure to play a role in that space.

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