Boost for S'pore, India start-ups seeking to form tie-ups

It will soon be easier for local start-ups to form partnerships with their Indian counterparts, thanks to an agreement signed yesterday.

The memorandum of understanding between Enterprise Singapore and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Singapore was inked ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Singapore today.

It kick-starts an incubation programme that aims to foster collaboration between Singapore and Indian start-ups through jointly organised networking events, workshops and sessions with in-market mentors.

TiE Singapore will start the initiative by running a mission in July with 10 Singapore start-ups to meet Indian start-ups, corporates, mentors and investors, with the aim of seeking solutions in fintech, e-services and deep tech.

India constitutes one-third of TiE Singapore's 11,000-member global membership.

Enterprise Singapore assistant chief executive Tan Soon Kim said the programme "aims to introduce ideas and concepts between the ecosystems of both countries and foster collaboration... in each other's markets and in South-east Asia.

"Over time, we aim to establish a series of key innovation nodes within India to form an innovation network for Singapore companies to tap."

Enterprise Singapore will also sign a memorandum of understanding today with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) India to facilitate the entry of Singapore vocational training companies into India. This will help lift skills in the beauty and wellness, food and beverage, and construction and facilities management sectors.

Singapore vocational training companies will be able to tap several NSDC financing schemes, such as soft loans for equipment and equity injection, for joint-venture projects with Indian training firms.

India has about 4,750 start-ups - the third-largest such ecosystem in the world. Its key focus areas include e-commerce, fintech, health tech and edu tech.

The value of start-up funding last year was about US$13.7 billion (S$18.4 billion), up from US$4.06 billion in 2016.

Singapore start-ups like ViSenze, an artificial intelligence-based visual search and image recognition solutions provider, have successfully set up shop in India.

ViSenze's partnership with Indian fashion e-retailer Myntra has helped six million users to navigate the store via image recognition.

India accounted for 75 per cent of local e-commerce platform Shopmatic's global business last year.

Correction note: This article has been updated for accuracy.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2018, with the headline Boost for S'pore, India start-ups seeking to form tie-ups. Subscribe