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Singapore IDA offers US$200m in funds to tech startups

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The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) on Wednesday challenged the San Francisco Bay Area tech community to come out with innovative solutions to analyse the more than 8,000 open government data sets as the country strives towards becoming a Smart Nation.

THE Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) on Wednesday challenged the San Francisco Bay Area tech community to come out with innovative solutions to analyse the more than 8,000 open government data sets as the country strives towards becoming a Smart Nation.

At the opening of the San Francisco office for its investment arm, Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), Steve Leonard, executive deputy chairman of the IDA, unveiled plans to foster new technology talents and extended US$200 million in funds to tech startups. IIPL aims to invest in startups that have an interest in expanding into Asia through Singapore and add value to Singapore's Smart Nation initiative in areas like healthcare, city planning, mobility, security, urban living and citizen-centric services.

Singapore's Smart Nation dream aims to build an ICT infrastructure to enhance the lives of its citizens as well as help businesses and government improve their operations.

"To reach its Smart Nation goal, Singapore is building a technology ecosystem driven by a cultural mindset of experimentation and collaboration that strives to tackle important global challenges all countries face,'' a joint release by IDA and IIPL said.

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"At the heart of the Global Data Challenge is a rich collection of more than 8,000 open government data sets that can be innovatively meshed and analysed with private sector datasets to bring about new insights on people's pain points and city challenges that need to be tackled,'' they added.

The data includes public transportation commuter patterns, bed occupancy rates in public hospitals, common health problems, air quality, household electricity consumption and other societal and cultural trends in Singapore.

Curated ideas that make best sense in the Singapore context and have the potential to scale will be considered for possible trials in Singapore. They could then be scaled globally to tackle challenges in other cities.

IDA also plans to collaborate with General Assembly, the global educational institution that is fostering a new technology community consisting of professionals seeking to start a new career.

The Business Times understands that General Assembly is looking at possibly setting up in Singapore sometime in the second quarter of 2015, making the office their first in South-east Asia.

The new office of IIPL, which has been in the Silicon Valley since 2009, is in the South of Market (SoMa) neighbourhood, part of "Block 71 San Francisco". The latter is an initiative shared with NUS Enterprise and SingTel Innov8 which aim to generate greater partnership opportunities between the US and Singapore startup communities.

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