Startups in Singapore closed 353 financing deals worth US$10.5 Bn last year, an increase from the 160 deals worth US$0.8 Bn in 2012, as per Enterprise Singapore (ESG). Among these, noteworthy deals included technology company Grab's US$2 Bn, Alchemy Foodtech's $2.5 Mn and healthcare app FriarTuck's US$3.63 Mn.
Assistant chief executive Edwin Chow said the agency will continue working with overseas and local partners, including public agencies, this year to expand the startup ecosystem, adding that more than 1,160 startups benefited from the agency's programmes last year.
One example of this is a programme called Partnerships for Capability Transformation through Government Lead Demand, or Gov-PACT, where public agencies initiate innovative projects by stating the challenges they face, allowing start-ups to propose solutions. Around $80 Mn was announced for the Gov-PACT initiative during Budget 2017 to drive innovation through government-led demand. In the pipeline this year are 24 calls for proposal.
Edwin added that targeted platforms for startups to connect with investors and customers serve as valuable opportunities for startups to access resources such as financing, and opens doors to co-innovation with leading corporates.
In this direction, the ESG has also appointed 17 more mentors to provide help such as startup capital to more first-time entrepreneurs. The total number of mentors under its Startup SG Founder programme is now 45, and about 200 startups will benefit from the programme this year, the agency said.
Also, the ESG and the Economic Development Board are strengthening the Republic's connections to major innovation hubs around the world by setting up centers in four more cities, though it did not provide their locations. Last year, centers were set up in Munich and Berlin in Germany, Suzhou in China, Paris, and Tokyo.
The ESG is also working with the central bank to help startups secure investments and funding through curated deals. The efforts come as ESG believes that startups are in a favorable position to leverage the rise of Asia, given that Asia will contribute to half of the global gross domestic product by 2050.