SINGAPORE, June 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — SilverConnect, a medical nutrition startup creating specialized food solutions for people with dysphagia, announced today that it closed a Seed financing round led by Heritas Capital Management, with participation from SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore.
Dysphagia, or the difficulty to swallow, is more common in older people and often results from nerve or muscle problems. Undiagnosed or poorly managed dysphagia increases the risk of choking, dehydration and malnutrition. Texture-modified diets are often recommended for people with dysphagia, but caregivers frequently find it challenging and time-consuming to prepare nutritionally complete meals with appropriate textures. Many healthcare institutions in Singapore have recently adopted the framework set out by the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) to ensure that all meals are safely prepared to the right consistency that people with dysphagia need.
SilverConnect was founded by Dr Shen Yiru and Ms Jeannie Ong in 2017 with the intent to enhance nourishment for the elderly and relieve their caregivers from the daily burden of preparing such modified meals. SilverConnect manufactures puréed moulded food under the brand of GentleFoods®, turning local Singapore food delights into texture-modified meals following the global IDDSI framework. SilverConnect operates the GentleFoods® brand of ready-to-eat frozen meals that turns local hawker favourites into texture-modified meals that meet global IDDSI standards. GentleFoods® aims to create familiar, safe and nutritious meals that stimulates the appetite with the way it looks, tastes and smells, thereby bringing the joy of food back into the lives of people with swallowing difficulties.
"My world changed when I saw my demented grandma rejecting all pureed foods because it was all so unfamiliar to her. The emotional impact inspired me to begin a journey to find out how other people with such challenges cope," said Dr Shen Yiru, founder and CEO of SilverConnect. "We found that many people with dysphagia do not enjoy their meals, resulting in almost a quarter of older people being malnourished. With our new line of GentleFoods® meals, we hope that elderly and other patients with swallowing difficulties will now be able to enjoy a wide variety of safe and tasty meals with their loved ones, while reducing the amount of time their caregivers currently spend on preparing such meals."
"All of our menu items have been carefully co-developed with a passionate team of speech therapists, dieticians and food technologists to ensure that the food has the appropriate consistency and uniform texture even after reheating," said Ms Jeannie Ong, co-founder and Director of Operations at SilverConnect. "Many of our meals are high in protein, low in salt, and are nutritionally balanced to meet the dietary needs of the older population."
GentleFoods® currently offers ready-to-eat frozen meals that are suitable for patients requiring IDDSI Level 4 food consistency, with familiar local favourites such as Sweet and Sour Fish, Chicken Rice and Rendang Fish on the menu. Every meal comes with one starch, two vegetables, and a protein. All meals are made from 100% natural ingredients. The frozen meals can be easily reheated at home following the simple instructions provided on the packing label.
"Heritas Capital, alongside SEEDS Capital, is pleased to back innovative foodtech start-ups like SilverConnect in its mission to provide safe, tasty and nutritious food for patients with dysphagia, expected to increase with ageing populations in Singapore and across Asia," said Mr Chik Wai Chiew, CEO and Executive Director of Heritas Capital Management. "We believe SilverConnect’s creative and impactful offering will enhance patients’ appetite and joy of consuming local favourites, leading to better nutrition, health and immunity which are especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic."
Said Mr Ted Tan, Chairman of SEEDS Capital and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore, "SilverConnect’s focus to address an unmet local and global need in the elderly and dysphagic population exemplifies the spirit of innovation. It aligns with the Food for Elders initiative under FoodInnovate, a multi-agency initiative led by Enterprise Singapore to drive innovation and position Singapore as a leading food and nutrition hub in Asia. We hope that SEEDS Capital’s investment will help SilverConnect scale up its operations more quickly and connect them to strategic partners in the region."
Over the last two years, Enterprise Singapore provided grant support to SilverConnect for (i) the co-development of three popular local snacks with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital under the Food for Elders initiative, and (ii) a corporate branding project to help them develop a global brand strategy and establish presence in key overseas markets.
Proceeds from this Seed investment round will be used to fast-track the commercialization and rollout of GentleFoods® to both consumers and elderly care institutions. GentleFoods® meals are currently available for sale on the company’s website at https://www.mygentlefoods.com/.
GentleFoods® is a registered trademark of SilverConnect Pte Ltd. We create puréed moulded food that is familiar, safe and nutritious. Our food aims to stimulate the appetite with the way it looks, tastes and smells, bringing the joy of food back into the lives of people with swallowing difficulties.
We believe the food that one enjoyed must always remain the food that one continues to enjoy. Working tirelessly with hospitals, speech therapists, dieticians and food technologists, we have created GentleFoods® to be both nutritious and appetising, to make people with swallowing difficulties ‘feel hungry again’. GentleFoods® offers ready-to-eat frozen meals and bulk packs. The nurturance, thoughtfulness and committed culture at GentleFoods® aims to bring back the positive and joyous relationship with food. For more information, please log on to https://www.mygentlefoods.com/
About Heritas Capital Management
Heritas Capital Management is a private equity and venture capital fund manager based in Singapore. Established since 1997, Heritas manages private equity, venture capital and fund-of-funds investments into healthcare, education, and technology globally, and has demonstrated strong hands-on track record to create sustainable growth and ESG impact by addressing key unmet needs. Heritas is also pleased to be a co-investment partner of SEEDS Capital, under the Startup SG Equity Scheme into leading healthcare start-ups in Singapore. For more information on Heritas Capital Management, visit: https://www.heritascapital.com/
About SEEDS Capital
As the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, SEEDS Capital catalyses smart investments into innovative Singapore-based startups with strong intellectual content and global market potential. We co-invest with independent investors in innovative startups. We help our startups commercialize and expand globally through leveraging on the expertise and strategic networks of our co-investment partners in areas such as technology translation, commercialization and market expansion. Through co-investments, SEEDS Capital aims to catalyze investments into nascent and strategic sectors. These include Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering, Health & Biomedical Sciences, Urban Solutions & Sustainability, and Services & Digital Economy.