Singapore – Tuesday, A Day of Contrasts

By: Phil Gibbs, Principal, The Disruption Lab


Tuesday continued our deep dive into innovation in Singapore and started our four days of site visits. It was a day of contrasts that offered different perspectives on innovation in a city that continues to surprise and amaze us.

Our day started with IPI Singapore, an organization established under the Ministry of Trade and Industry that facilitates partnering to bring new products and services to market. Sim Kung Kiat (KK), Deputy Director, and Karen Ng, Senior Technology Manager and Head – Energy and Environment, went into great depth about the dynamic innovation ecosystem in Singapore that includes Entrepreneurs, Risk Capital, Incubators and Accelerators, Large Corporations, Government, and R&D Communities. One service offered by IPI is a self-service online portal that allows industry to search for technologies of interest, needs of other companies and government agencies, and crowd source solutions for technology needs.

Our next stop was with John Sharp, Partner with HATCHER+, an innovative venture capital firm. They are using AI-based predictive data analysis, global co-investment partnerships, and business process automation technologies, to build the world’s largest venture investment portfolio and generate predictable returns from venture. Yes, that is not a typo–they are looking for predictable returns of about 4x. Amazing what data can do for a firm. They are currently ranked #2 among the world’s most active early-stage investors. Using massive amounts of data and AI, their approach is built on three questions: What investment stages are most profitable? What is the optimal portfolio structure for venture? and What selection ratio do industry leaders use? John and his team are doing really interesting work. We also learned from John a new way of describing Singapore–Singapore is Asia for beginners!

After lunch at a great open food court, Timbre+, where an automated system paid us a dollar for returning our trays–who says behavior can’t be incented–we were off to two additional visits.

First up was the Asia operations of World Wide Technology (WWT), the $11B, St. Louis based private technology company that is supporting our LAB|2025 initiative through Nashville based, Dr. Justin Collier. As reflective of the company approach, we were greeted by a team of executives, not only from WWT but also their global technology partners, led by WWT’s Chris Canale. We learned about different use cases and the role of the company in testing and integrating large technology projects. The visit ended with a tour of the integration center in Singapore.

We closed the day with Yar-Ping Soo, Partner with Adams Street Partners, a private equity firm with $37 billion under management. Yar-Ping specializes in Asian pan-regional leveraged buyouts as well as country-focused funds, specifically in Greater China, Japan, Korea, and Indonesia, and leads the Primary Investment Team’s Asian practice. The firm created the industries first fund of funds in 1979, and operates and invests today based on the track record of its fund managers, and relationships. Yar-Ping provided insights into another important element of the innovation ecosystem in Singapore and the broader Asia market.


Phil is the founding Principal of The Disruption Lab, where he focuses on disruptive innovation and corporate growth. For over a decade, he led Executive Learning, one of the country’s leading firms supporting continual improvement (sustaining and efficiency innovation), particularly in healthcare, and including work with industry leader HCA and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

His entrepreneurial experience includes co-founding multiple companies, including E|SPACES and LifeFilez. In addition to his startup experience, Phil has served as a principal in an early-stage investment firm and worked in/consulted with multiple large organizations, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory early in his career. His interest in innovation began with his doctoral research at The Ohio State University focused on understanding how organizations achieve both high productivity and high innovation.

You can connect with or ask Phil a question through The Disruption Lab community at https://thedisruptionlab.community/.

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