Government pumps in S$50m to help technology start-ups

Young technology start-ups in Singapore look set to get more help from the government as it is pumping in S$50 million in the next 10 years to help fledging firms, as well as getting investors on board to match this amount.

SINGAPORE: Young technology start-ups in Singapore look set to get more help from the government.

A total of S$100 million will be set aside to help fledging firms struggling to secure early-stage funding, announced Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Wednesday at the Techventure 2013 event.

The government is pumping in S$50 million in the next 10 years to help young start-ups. It will also get investors on board to match this amount, bringing the total pool of investment funds to S$100 million.

Mr Teo, who is also chairman of the National Research Foundation, said the money will address the early-stage funding challenges faced by young firms.

He said: “We are seeing a healthy pipeline of technology start-ups in Singapore. However, one piece of feedback we often get is that there is still a lack of early-stage financing in Singapore and the region.”

The fund has benefited start-ups such as Technology firm CtrlWorks, which took about a year to develop Axon, an intelligent mobile robot powered by its propriety navigation engine. The prototype was launched this week with a S$250,000 government grant.

When commercialised, it could be used in hospitals or airports to transport people.

Mr Teo said Singapore has invested heavily in innovation and enterprise as the country moves towards an innovation-driven economy.

The government has set aside about S$16 billion to promote research, innovation and enterprise from 2011 to 2015.

Other ways to help start-ups include the Techventure event, which is a platform for tech firms to meet investors.

Professor Low Teck Seng, chief executive officer of National Research Foundation, said: “Bringing people together is very important. Just having them meet online is not (necessarily) the best thing. Nothing is better than looking the person straight into the eye and see whether he means it, whether he can bring in the support, the infrastructure.”

To help boost tie-ups, organisers created a “deal flow area” that has been set aside for investors and start-ups to discuss possible deals.

The arrangement is a part of organisers’ efforts to bring business opportunities to investors and the business community.

Organisers also note there have been more local start-ups in the past three years which have attracted global investors.

Philip Lim, chief executive officer of A*STAR Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd, said: “It says something about our technologies. People from all over can buy technologies from anywhere, but they come to Singapore and they take technologies from us.”

– CNA/ac/gn

Sectors: Electronics & IT Technologies and Technology
Countries: Asia Pacific, Singapore, and South East Asia
Topics: Innovation, Product Development, and R&D
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