The Business Times
24 December 2012 – Fresh from winning this year’s Emerging Enterprise Award in June, Singapore-based startup Ascenz has attracted a $590,000 investment from Red Dot Ventures, a private investment vehicle of System Access founder Leslie Loh. This is Red Dot Ventures’ ninth investment in a startup this year.
Ascenz is a leading supplier of remote monitoring systems for shipping companies to track fuel consumption and bunkering monitoring.
With high oil prices, fuel monitoring is a concern for shipowners. There has traditionally been no way of obtaining information on fuel consumption from moving vessels.
Ascenz’s software monitoring system captures data on fuel consumption and bunkering, which is then delivered from moving ships to the onshore control office. The data allows customers to monitor fuel usage and ensure accurate fuel bunkering, giving them real-time insight into the ship’s operations.
The system also acts as a locating device, sending back information about the engines, location of the ship as well as its speed and path of travel.
The two founders, Sia Teck Chong and Chia Yoong Hui, both 44 years old, began the business in 2008 when they saw an opportunity to help shipowners save millions of dollars as oil prices soared and the composition of fuel to total operating costs grew.
“Since Ascenz started operations, the composition of fuel oil to total operating costs for shipowners has increased from 25 to 60 per cent,” said Mr Chia “This together with a global market size of about 85,000 ships – including general cargo ships, tankers and bulk carriers – made this business a viable one.”
As part of its incubation model, Red Dot Ventures will provide Ascenz with funding, management mentorship and market access.
“To date, Ascenz has sold about 100 sets of its patented systems and is hoping to get more foreign clients, especially in the region,” said Mr Loh, managing director of Red Dot Ventures.
“Currently, about 70 percent of Ascenz’s customers are Singaporean firms, and Red Dot Ventures will help the company extend its clientele in China, as most ships in the region are assembled there, and also introduce it to the European and Middle-East markets.”
In early 2012, Red Dot Ventures, which focuses on Singapore-based early stage high-tech startups, was selected as an official technology incubator under the Government of Singapore’s technology Incubation Scheme.