Start-ups in 'Plug and Play' pitch for funds

An "accelerator" programme run by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) ended yesterday with eight start-ups making their pitches to investors, in the hope of getting the funds and support to take their firms forward.

The so-called Demo Day is the culmination of the SPH Plug and Play accelerator programme, during which the start-ups spent three months working with mentors to develop products, gain users and build partnerships with established brands.

The programme is a joint venture between SPH, Silicon Valley's Plug and Play, and Infocomm Investments, the venture capital subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority. The start-ups are involved in a wide range of activities, from education to e-commerce.

All three partners said in a statement yesterday that they were encouraged by the start-ups' achievements.

Mr Chua Boon Ping, chief executive of the SPH Media Fund, said: "They have all made significant progress and we look forward to them raising funds for their next stage of growth after this programme."

Mr Jupe Tan, vice-president of international operations at Plug and Play, said: "The journey is a tough one and we will continue to support our start-ups as they grow."

They include Snapask, a mobile app that lets students put questions to tutors round the clock, with answers coming within an average of five minutes. Launched last month, the firm already has a pool of 250 vetted tutors to respond to questions and over 1,000 student users.

PlusMargin is another of the eight start-ups. It analyses customer behaviour to help e-commerce stores devise promotions.

The PlusMargin team has secured seed funding and has signed on several clients for pilot projects.

Yasmine Yahya

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2015, with the headline 'Start-ups in 'Plug and Play' pitch for funds'. Subscribe