$200m to help fund local start-ups

About $200 million will be set aside by the Government as investment funding under Startup SG Equity.

The scheme, announced in Parliament earlier this month, encourages public and private co-investment for deep-tech start-ups, which usually take a longer time to commercialise their products. It replaces Spring Singapore's Business Angel Scheme, where the Government matched investments in companies dollar for dollar up to $2 million.

The new scheme will let the Government co-invest 70 per cent in start-ups, up from 50 per cent. These investments will be capped at $4 million, double the previous cap, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon yesterday.

Dr Koh also unveiled details of Startup SG Founder, a separate scheme introduced earlier this month. It will have a budget of about $20 million to support entrepreneurs who are just starting out, replacing the ACE Startups Grant for first-time entrepreneurs and the iJam Tier 1 grant that targeted new firms in interactive digital media.

Dr Koh said successful applicants under Startup SG Founder will be matched with mentors under a new Accredited Mentor Partners approach. "These partners include incubators and accelerators which will provide advice, networking and learning opportunities for the first-time entrepreneurs," he said.

The changes take effect on May 1. Both Startup SG Equity and Startup SG Founder fall under Startup SG, which unifies all government schemes supporting new tech firms.

Dr Koh, speaking at an event to mark the expansion of JTC Launchpad @ one-north, noted the importance of physical infrastructure in bringing together local start-ups to innovate. JTC Launchpad has completed Blocks 75, 77, and 81 in addition to the three existing blocks.

The new blocks will host 48 start-ups and three incubators, bringing the community to more than 800 start-ups and around 50 incubators. The new tenants will inject greater diversity and dynamism to the JTC Launchpad community, said Dr Koh.

Mr Chew Ken Wee, founder and chief executive of fintech start-up Tripledot Technologies, said his firm is moving into Block 75 owing to the culture of innovation and collaboration at JTC Launchpad. "There is an innovative open-door environment here. As new start-ups, there are fewer barriers to approaching and learning from one another. We are looking forward to engaging in cross-company collaborations with the other start-ups here."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline '$200m to help fund local start-ups'. Print Edition | Subscribe