8 start-ups picked for SPH accelerator programme

(Front row, from left) Mr Lim, head of SPH Plug and Play; Mr Julian Tan, head of SPH Digital Division; Mr Chua Boon Ping, CEO of SPH Media Fund; Dr Alex Lin, head of Infocomm Investments; and Mr Jupe Tan, senior vice-president of global operations fo
(Front row, from left) Mr Lim, head of SPH Plug and Play; Mr Julian Tan, head of SPH Digital Division; Mr Chua Boon Ping, CEO of SPH Media Fund; Dr Alex Lin, head of Infocomm Investments; and Mr Jupe Tan, senior vice-president of global operations for SPH Plug and Play, with the lead founders of the eight start-ups chosen as the SPH Plug and Play accelerator programme's second batch for this year. PHOTO: SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS

The second batch of start-ups picked for the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Plug and Play accelerator programme for up-and-coming start-ups was unveiled last Friday.

Eight start-ups were chosen from more than 320 applications from 10 countries over a five-week period in January and February this year.

Some 70 per cent of applicants were local start-ups, with the rest from the region, including Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Refash, a fashion e-commerce marketplace that helps women buy and sell second-hand clothes, accessories and bags, was one of the businesses selected for the programme.

Mr Alyosius Sng, 27, founder and managing director, said the programme provided the fledging company with the much-needed network, industry knowledge and resources to grow.

"The mentors can look at our business model and teach us scalability," he said.

SPH Plug and Play is a joint venture between SPH, Silicon Valley- based global start-up accelerator Plug and Play and Infocomm Investments (IIPL), the venture capital subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore.

Set up last year, it aims to help start-ups with innovative tech ideas that could transform and revolutionise the media industry.

Each successful start-up is entitled to $30,000 seed funding as well as perks and services such as cloud hosting, analytics and video support worth up to $200,000.

This second edition of the programme will run for 14 weeks, culminating in the Demo Day in mid-June. The eight companies will pitch to an audience of some 200 to 300 angel investors, venture capitalists, financiers and leaders from the private and public sectors.

"This final event is what we look forward to," said Mr Sng.

Some of the first batch of start-ups that took part in the inaugural programme last year have since gone on to secure additional funding, forged strategic partnerships or garnered accolades for their products and services.

Bolt, a content management platform that connects businesses to writers and content producers, had received additional funding of more than $100,000.

Its co-founder and business development lead, Ms Chan Yi Wen, was recently featured in Forbes Magazine's "30 under 30" Asia list as one of the promising entrepreneurs to look out for in the media industry.

"I'm raising my seed round of $1 million funding soon, to expand my sales and tech team to roll out to Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong," said Ms Chan, 25, a former SPH journalist.

Mr Rudy Lim, head of SPH Plug and Play, said: "Their achievements are a testament to the all-round impact of our accelerator programme - beyond the funding.

"The start-ups benefited from the guidance of the mentors and the networking with key media industry contacts. This offers the start-up a valuable head start in terms of access to clients and ideas to fine-tune their business offerings."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2016, with the headline '8 start-ups picked for SPH accelerator programme'. Print Edition | Subscribe