Three home-grown start-ups first to get a crack at smart nation tech deals

SINGAPORE - The surveillance intelligence in Little India or water level sensors in drains to monitor flooding may well belong to Singapore start-ups as the Government tweaks its procurement process to include them.

Three home-grown technology firms are the first to be selected under a new official scheme that gives start-ups a crack at government tech deals.

Video analytics software maker Kai Square, mobile app development software firm Tagit and mobile security software firm V-Key will be considered first for government contracts under the Accreditation@IDA scheme.

The scheme was launched in April by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), giving start-ups without a track record or financial muscle - and would otherwise not meet the stringent criteria to apply for government tenders - a foot in the door. It aims to plug a gap in current government tender processes that may "unintentionally exclude" aspiring local start-ups.

IDA said that the three accredited start-ups have solutions that can address the security challenges faced by Singapore as it transforms itself into a smart nation.

"Their solutions are applicable for the things we do as a smart nation," said IDA's development group assistant chief executive Khoong Hock Yun.

Government agencies can skip the usual tender process and sign a contract with any accredited start-ups that meet their criteria. Some 60 upcoming data analytics and security projects are expected to be relevant to these startups.

Accreditation@IDA scheme is meant only for niche software players based here. For instance, systems integrators that install hardware and software will not be considered.

To qualify, their products have to be unique and have the potential to make a big impact, like those that address major issues in education and transportation. They must also have an annual revenue of less than $10 million, and supply "disruptive" software typically not found in larger established firms.

A review panel comprising 14 technology and financial consultants is accrediting the start-ups. IDA's assessment criteria for companies also include their operational capabilities, financial standing and product reliability. Their accreditation status will be valid for 18 months.

itham@sph.com.sg