7 accelerators appointed to boost emerging sectors

Start-ups in the cleantech and advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors are getting a boost from new efforts aimed at developing these industries.

Spring Seeds Capital, the investment arm of enterprise development agency Spring, has appointed seven accelerators to support start-ups in these emerging sectors, and will co-invest in promising companies with these partners.

The seven are EnchantVC, Green Meadows Accelerator, JCS Venture Lab, Jungle Ventures, TNB Ventures, Trirec and Wavemaker.

These accelerators and incubators focus on growing start-ups in areas such as 3D printing, nanotechnology, robotics, and the Internet of Things for consumers and smart cities, among others. Spring Seeds will match the accelerator's investment dollar for dollar, with a maximum joint investment amount of up to $4 million per start-up.

The funds will be drawn from the $75 million co-investment fund set aside in Budget 2015 for growing start-ups in these emerging sectors.

The number of Singapore-based "deep technology" start-ups almost doubled from about 2,800 in 2004 to 5,400 in 2014, Spring said in a statement yesterday.

These start-ups employed 30,000 workers, or close to 1 per cent of the workforce, as of 2014.

Mr Edwin Chow, Spring's group director for industry development and innovation and start-ups, said the agency co-invested $13 million in 17 early-stage companies last year, catalysing $36 million from private investors. However, he noted that "funding alone is not the only success factor for start-ups to take off as infrastructural support, and access to networks and markets are important too".

One of Spring's newly-appointed partners is venture capital firm Trirec, which focuses on early- stage equity investments in clean technology and renewable energy. Besides developing firms here, co-founder Melvyn Yeo is keen on bringing in overseas start-ups.

Meanwhile, EnchantVC, which helps consumer hardware start-ups grow through crowdfunding, has started incubating 16 start-ups in partnership with Spring. The goal is to have them showcase their products at a consumer electronics show in Las Vegas next January, said managing partner Gene Berger.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline '7 accelerators appointed to boost emerging sectors'. Print Edition | Subscribe