Wed. May 29th, 2024

The landscape of innovation continues to evolve as we
advance through 2024, pushing boundaries and redefining what is
possible in both the technology and sustainability sectors. In this
article, we highlight recent breakthroughs that exhibit this
ongoing transformation. These endeavours in medical technology,
beauty and sustainable fashion not only mark significant
advancements in their respective fields but also underscore a
global shift towards responsible and inclusive
innovation.

SynPhNe: a leap forward in neurological rehabilitation

The journey of SynPhNe, a medical technology enterprise emerging
from Singapore, epitomizes the pinnacle of innovation in
healthcare. With a mission to revolutionize the rehabilitation of
stroke and neurological conditions, SynPhNe has introduced a
wearable device that is a beacon of hope for many. This device
harnesses the power of neural feedback and gamification, integrated
with advanced data analytics, to offer a personalized
rehabilitation experience. Patients can now partake in their
recovery journey in both clinical settings and the comfort of their
homes, a flexibility that was once beyond reach.

SynPhNe’s origins can be traced back to the innovative
ecosystem of the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore
(NTU), where it was nurtured under the NTUitive program and
supported by stalwarts like the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research
and Technology Centre. Its recent Series A funding round, led by
Event Horizon, marks a significant milestone, securing $5 million
to broaden its impact across the United States, alongside its
existing markets in Singapore and India.

Allies of Skin: redefining skincare through science

Allies of Skin, a premium skincare brand born in Singapore,
stands at the forefront of the beauty industry’s evolution
towards science-backed, sustainable products. Its recent Series A
funding, a monumental $20 million aimed at propelling the
brand’s expansion into the US market, signifies a new era for
skincare enthusiasts and investors alike. This strategic infusion
of capital will bolster marketing efforts, spur new product
development, and facilitate the formation of a US-based team.

Founded by Nicolas Travis in 2016, Allies of Skin quickly
distinguished itself with formulations that combine
dermatologist-approved ingredients like retinoids and antioxidants.
Its commitment to efficacy and sustainability has attracted a
discerning customer base, including celebrities and influencers who
champion the brand’s ethos. With an growing list of bestsellers
in the market, Allies of Skin is poised for international acclaim,
already available across 36 countries and partnering with over 40
retailers globally.

SukkhaCitta: ground-breaking sustainable innovation

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Denica Riadini-Flesch founder of SukkhaCitta (center),
with members of her team, celebrating their Rolex Award for
Enterprise

Innovation’s reach extends beyond technological
advancements, encompassing initiatives that promote sustainable
practices, challenging traditional industry norms. Denica
Riadini-Flesch, the visionary founder of the ethical fashion house
SukkhaCitta, has been celebrated for her profound impact on the
fashion industry with the prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise.
This honour is a part of the Perpetual Planet Initiative,
recognizing her efforts to create one of the world’s first
regenerative farm-to-closet supply chains in Indonesia, emphasizing
environmental restoration and social empowerment.

Supported by Joel Shen, Corporate Partner and Head of Withers
Tech Asia and the Indonesia practice at Withers, Denica’s work
through SukkhaCitta has significantly impacted over 1,400 people.
This includes farmers to master weavers and seamstresses, with
plans to reach 10,000 people by 2030. Her efforts to regenerate
1,000 hectares of degraded soil further exemplify her commitment to
environmental sustainability.

SukkhaCitta’s ground-breaking work has also attracted the
support of the Ant International Foundation (AIF), a notable ally
in the cause of sustainable development. AIF was set up by the Ant
Group under the guidance of Stacy Choong, Private Client and Tax
Partner at Withers, introduced by Joel who is a long-time advisor
to the group. The grant awarded to SukkhaCitta marked AIF’s
inaugural project in Southeast Asia, showcasing a strong commitment
to fostering sustainable initiatives within the region. The
collaboration between SukkhaCitta and AIF came about through a
strategic introduction made by Joel and Stacy, reflecting the power
of network and partnership in amplifying the reach and impact of
sustainable practices.

SukkhaCitta, translating to “happiness,” has been
instrumental in creating hundreds of jobs with fair wages for those
who craft high-end clothing using traditional and sustainable
techniques. By integrating traditional agricultural and textile
production techniques with business skills, SukkhaCitta has enabled
rural artisans to monetize their work effectively, connecting them
with customers across 32 countries.

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“This project has shown me what you can achieve when you
put women and nature at the heart of your decisions,” reflects
Denica, underscoring the transformative power of sustainable
innovation.

Denica is just one of the many trailblazers making waves in
Indonesia. Withers’ association with KARNA Partnership, a
dynamic and multi-service law firm based in Indonesia, brings a
wealth of local expertise and knowledge that complements our
international reach.

The path forward

“The vision and technology behind SynPhNe are not just
about advancing medical technology; they’re about reshaping how
we approach rehabilitation globally. This investment is a pivotal
moment for the sector, demonstrating the scalability of impactful
healthcare innovations,” Joel notes, underscoring the critical
role of innovations in healthcare. His expertise and strategic
guidance were instrumental in navigating the complexities of this
investment, spotlighting the potential of Singapore’s
burgeoning life sciences sector.

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Similarly, Joel’s role in facilitating Allies of Skin’s
latest funding round is a testament to his vision for the future of
beauty – one that is rooted in scientific integrity and ethical
practices. “Allies of Skin’s journey is a beacon for the
beauty industry, illuminating the path towards integrating science
with sustainability. This funding is not merely a financial
achievement but a significant leap towards transforming how we
conceive and consume skincare products,” Joel expands.

The stories of SynPhNe, Allies of Skin, and Sukkhacitta are
emblematic of the broader shift towards innovation that is not only
technologically advanced but also socially responsible and
environmentally sustainable. As Joel Shen aptly puts it,
“These milestones reflect a growing understanding within the
investment community and beyond that innovation must go hand in
hand with sustainability and social responsibility.”

As we continue to chart the path of innovation, the achievements
of these leaders and their projects are a source of hope and
inspiration. They exemplify how creativity, when aligned with
ethical considerations and sustainability, can lead to significant
improvements in health, beauty, and societal well-being, setting
the stage for a future where innovation and responsibility coexist
harmoniously.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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