One of the world’s famous tourist destination Singapore is an amazing country with multicultural population and offers a range of interesting things to do. The tiny island country is like a big desk, full of drawers and pigeon holes where everything has its place and can be found in it. Apart from being an exciting vacation spot, Singapore has grown into a major hub for tech startups in Southeast Asia. For the young aspiring entrepreneurs, the presence of a new dynamic and multicultural generation as well as supportive business and funding options make Singapore a favorable place to start a business and make a global impact.
Though there are good startup market in other ASEAN countries like Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand or Indonesia, it is no match to the maturating industry of Singapore. Despite the smaller population, the usage of internet, social media and smartphones is much more advanced than any Asian countries making the country digitally advanced market and favourable location for startup ecosystem. The city-state is also not short on quality accelerators to help the new ventures build their business. The number of accelerators in the country is growing and will continue to grow as various industries like FinTech, Healthcare and other sectors heat up. Top accelerators in Singapore have been listed down for those who are not sure where to head to with their startups.
Launched in 2015 in Singapore, Rockstart is a well-known top Netherlands-based startup support network. As a means to attract the Southeast Asian startups, it brings it entire support system to Singapore. The accelerator will run concurrently with the Amsterdam-based program. It may be new to Singapore but it not new to the startup scenario. The program offers the selected startups with workspaces, mentorship and networking events. It focuses on ‘born-global’ kinda startups to join the acceleration program which includes startups that are either ready or willing to take their idea to the international market. Currently, the program offered is for web and mobile based tech startups. The program is expected to run in Europe and Singapore at the same time.
The program runs for a time frame of 150 days where the selected 10 startups go through every course of the acceleration program. A demo day is scheduled after three months, when the startups will present their startups and pitch to investors. The remaining time will be used for team building, hiring and fund-raising. During the period, the startups would receive mentorship, financial support and workspace. Though the program takes place in Singapore, the participants also get chance to visit San Francisco for 2 weeks and New York for 2 weeks during the program.
Launched in 2015 in Singapore, the startup accelerator Muru-D originated from Australia and is backed up by Australian telco Telstra. The accelerator aspires to attract the region’s best digital talent, foster local technology innovation and grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Southeast Asia. The Singaporean program will mirror its Australian counterpart with some minor changes by the program leaders. The Australian program has recently graduated its first batch of 9 startups which have attracted funding of more than US$2.5 million.
The program runs for 180 days or six months during which the startups will receive workspace in Muru-D’s Singapore premises, access to mentors, coaches and investors who are critical to help the startups grow, develop and expand their businesses. Also, at the end of the program, every startup receives a seed funding of US$30,300 in exchange for 6% stake in each of the startup. It’s first batch started in August last year includes startups from diverse areas like healthcare, consumer applications, financial services, law, mobile payments and advertising services represented with founders from Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
*SPH Plug and Play Accelerator:
Launched in 2015 in Singapore, SPH Plug and Play Accelerator is a technology-focused accelerator program that was formed with the collaboration of SPH Media Fund, Plug and Play and Infocomm Investments. The program aspires to develop a strong pipeline of high growth, innovation driven tech start-ups to address challenges that the media industry faces. IT targets the startups across media sectors ranging from advertising, e-commerce, marketplace, mobile, news and content distribution to public relations. The selected startups are offered mentorship from domain experts from venture capital and media industries. Also, they receive training and get opportunities to leverage on SPH’s vast intellectual property and resources.
The accelerator program runs for three months and ends with the demo day. The shortlisted teams go through a 10-week boot camp to refine their idea and scale their businesses. The selected startups receive S$30,000 each and office space at IIPL’s BASH facility in Blk 79. The collaborations partnership brings in for the startups the SPH’s intellectual property and media resources, IIPL’s network of relationship with industry stakeholders, government agencies and research institutes and Plug and Play’s global experience in operating themed-accelerators in different sectors. The startups also have the option to stay after their program for a short period of time at BASH to continue building their product and business under the mentorship of IIPL and other ecosystem partners. The startups graduated from the first batch are Bolt, Snapask, Imagine8ors,Tutate, PlusMargin and lot more.
Launched in 2015, the accelerator program InspirAsia was founded when the Russian investment firm LifeSREDA.VC recently shifted its headquarters from Moscow to Singapore. The fintech accelerator focuses on theme investments in the financial mobile and Internet projects. It targets at developing solutions in the mobile payments, mPOS and online acquiring, online lending and scoring. The program has a unique approach open only to seed-stage and Series A-stage startups, in addition to offering long-term partnership arrangements with projects.
The selected 20 startups go through a 90-day accelerator program in Singapore. During the course, the InspirAsia will help connect these ventures to the appropriate technology and business partners and validating their product, assisting in market-entry, mentorship, an intensive training program, office space and functional assistance to scale up the business. Each startup receives $50,000 to $300,000 in exchange for 5 to 15% equity stake depending on the stage of the statup. Also, $200,000 in support services are offered to the startups. Some notable firms emerged from Life.SREDA’s portfolio are MyApps, Settle and InstaBank.
*Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore:
Launched in 2015 in Singapore, the Startupbootcamp is a vertical focused startup accelerator originated in Copehagen, Denmark. It is a leading accelerator for startups in finance and banking. The accelerator program boosts its reputation as an innovation hub, which was featured few months ago as one bona fide accelerator in JFDI. Singapore government has invested in this credible program through Infocomm Investments. The accelerator has partnered with various top firms like DBS bank, MasterCard, Route 66 Ventures, SBT Venture Capital and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country’s central bank.
The accelerator program runs through a 13 weeks mentorship driven program that connects the startups with more than 200 mentors, banks, investors, partners and subject experts. The program selects around 10 startups to be accelerated every year. The selected teams will receive S$24,500 (US$18,000) in financial support along with networking and funding help, master classes and mentorship. The startups that emerged from the first batch are Bankguard, Bw8 Trading, Creditseva, CryptoSigma, DeBuNe, Dragon Wealth, Kashmi, KyePot, Otonomos and SkolaFund.
Launched in 2015 and originated from Singapore, Unframed is a social impact accelerator that focuses on the startups that brings about a social change in the economy. The selected startups would receive close mentoring from a team with “unique expertise, experience and networks at the crossroads of tech startups, social entrepreneurship, non-profit.” The accelerator is backed by Jan Croeni and for the program, local telco Singtel will come on board as a strategic partner and majority funder. The thing that sets it apart from the other social-minded program is their domain experience as they are run by academics or those without relevant backgrounds.
The accelerator recently launched a five-month program called Enabling Change which is extremely selective in choosing the startups. Each selected startup would receive S$10,000 in seed funding to get things started. In exchange, Unframed will take an equity stake in each startup. It takes a maximum f 10% for the startups at the concept stage. After the program duration, it will continue to support the startups through an additional six-month fellowship support period, where startups would be offered with “necessary support and a monthly coaching session, though light-duty.”
Launched in 2010, Clearbridge Accelerator is a Singapore tech commercialiser and incubator that focuses on translating core technologies from the laboratory into commercial innovative products. It majorly targets at game-changing healthcare, info-security and technology companies. The team comprises of many entrepreneurs with deep domain expertise, extensive networks and operational experience in key markets like USA, China, Japan and Australia that leverages for the startups part of the accelerator program.
Being a part of the Asian venture capital firm Clearbridge Partners, it invests in the seed-stage startups. Through a public-private partnership with the Singapore Government, the accelerator manages both a SGD 40 MM Fund to invest in life science companies and an incubator scheme that invests up to S$1MM for seed stage companies. The accelerator has recently joined hands with SGX to raise funds for the startups.