SPH Plug and Play unveils second batch of start-ups

(Front row, from left) Mr Rudy Lim, Head of SPH Plug and Play; Mr Julian Tan, Head, Digital Division, SPH; Mr Chua Boon Ping, CEO, SPH Media Fund; Dr Alex Lin, Head of Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd and Mr Jupe Tan, Senior Vice-President, Global Operations for Plug and Play with the lead founders of the eight startups chosen as the second batch of the accelerator programme.

SINGAPORE - Eight new tech start-ups have been selected for the second intake of the Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) Plug & Play accelerator programme.

This second batch of start-ups were selected from more than 320 applications received from 10 countries, including Hong Kong and India, over a five-week period from January to February 2016.

They include an app that links car drivers to reliable workshops, a marketing platform based on artificial intelligence, and a crowdfunding platform for product designers.

Mr Rudy Lim, Head of SPH Plug and Play said: "We are very encouraged by the response to our call for applicants and our second batch of start-ups. They offer exciting innovations that are at the forefront of addressing the multitude of challenges faced by an increasingly fragmented media industry."

Set up in 2015, the Plug and Play programme is a joint venture between Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), Silicon Valley-based start-up accelerator Plug and Play and Infocomm Investments, the investment arm of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore.

Each successful start-up chosen for the accelerator programme is entitled to $30,000 in seed funding.

They will also be provided with up to $200,000 worth of cloud hosting, analytics, and video support services, and access to office space at BASH, a co-working space located at Launchpad @one-north.

The eight start-ups selected for the second intake are:

  • Ad+ Platform, which lets brand owners and advertisers create and monitor their campaigns online
  • Fixir, an app that lets drivers request for quotations on car repairs via text or photos
  • GOtixs, a pricing system that allows event owners to liquidate unsold tickets
  • Intheloop, a portal that connects health and wellness businesses with consumers
  • Makerscut, a crowdfunding site for product designers
  • Refash, a fashion marketplace for unwanted apparel or second-hand clothes
  • Reserv, a condominium facilities management system for facility owners and residents
  • Wondertech, a software that turns news into data without machine learning or data science.

Dr Alex Lin, head of Infocomm Investments, told The Business Times that this year's batch featured more deep tech offerings such as artificial intelligence and software that lets computers understand unstructured data - a task only humans used to be able to do.

The inaugural SPH Plug and Play accelerator programme ran in 2015.

Among the first batch of start-ups was Snapask, which provides on-demand academic support for high school students. It has raised additional funding of close to US$2 million (S$2.7 million).

Bolt, a content management platform that connects businesses to writers and content producers, has also received additional funding of more than S$100,000.

Dr Lin said: "We have seen good results from the first batch of start-ups... I am also happy to note that seven out of the eight start-ups selected for SPH Plug and Play's second batch have Singaporean founding teams."

Seventy per cent of the 320 applicants were start-ups from Singapore with the remaining from the region, including Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The second SPH Plug and Play Accelerator Program will run for a total of 14 weeks. Teams will be expected to pitch their start-ups to an audience comprising investors, business leaders and leaders from the government sector in mid-June.

For more information on the SPH Plug and Play accelerator program, visit www.sphplugandplay.com or www.facebook.com/SPHxPnP.

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