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Wanted - accelerators to help cleantech startups

Spring S'pore is also looking for accelerators for startups in advanced manufacturing and engineering

An artist's impression of the JTC LaunchPad to be located near JTC's CleanTech Park. The facility will provide a conducive environment for startups in the form of affordable office rentals and networking spaces. Slated to open in September 2016, it will house a public tinkering workshop, for which appointed accelerators of startups may be offered funding to run.


SPRING Singapore is looking to appoint up to five accelerators to jointly nurture up to 40 startups and to invest up to S$4 million in each of these startups in the clean technology and advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Edwin Chow, Spring's group director for industry development and innovation and startups, said these sectors have immense potential for growth and offer abundant opportunities for startups, but need support.

"These deep-technology sectors require a longer runway for development and commercialisation and may not have sufficient support from private capital sources. In partnering capable investors and incubators, we hope to fast-track the growth of these startups ... and seed a new generation of technology-intensive enterprises in Singapore," he said.

The appointed accelerators - in effect investment and incubation partners - will co-invest up to S$4 million per startup with Spring Seeds Capital (SSC), Spring's investment arm, on a 1:1 basis.

SSC will draw from the S$75 million co-investment fund announced at Budget 2015.

Appointed accelerators may be offered an Incubation Programme Grant to support the "value-adding" role they play, be this in providing mentorship or programme-development help to the startups; accelerators may also receive funding to run a public tinkering workshop within the next JTC LaunchPad located near JTC's CleanTech Park and which is to open in September 2016.

Interested accelerators are due for a public briefing on July 7 at the ACE Ideation Centre at JTC LaunchPad @ one-north, and submit their proposals to Spring by Aug 6. The selected parties are likely to be appointed at the end of this year or early next year.

Leslie Loh, managing director of Red Dot Ventures, told The Business Times: "This is a good move by the government to bring together players - accelerators, investors, incubators and startups - to create an ecosystem we currently don't have depth in."

Singapore's clean technology (cleantech) and advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors are at least five years behind the infocomm technology and interactive digital media sectors, he said.

"But Singapore's strong research culture and research institute support will stand it in good stead for the development of these emerging sectors," he added.

Cleantech encompasses innovations in clean energy and water and supports environmental sustainability; advanced manufacturing and engineering comprise additive manufacturing (3D printing), robotics, nanotechnology and the Internet of Things.

It has been reported that the global cleantech market will hit US$5.1 trillion, and the robotics markets, US$80 million in 2025.

The global additive manufacturing market is expected to reach some US$6.9 million by 2019.

Last September, Spring appointed Zicom MedTacc and Med Tech Alliance as accelerators to the S$70 million Sector-Specific Accelerator Programme, joining Clearbridge Biomedical Sciences Accelerator and Singapore Medtech Accelerator to nurture medical-technology startups.