Facebook, IMDA initiative to give start-ups a leg-up

Above: Facebook's vice-president of Asia-Pacific Dan Neary receiving a T-shirt from Economic Development Board managing director Chng Kai Fong at the opening of Facebook's new office yesterday. Left: Facebook staff at their new office, which is locat
Facebook staff at their new office, which is located in the West Tower of Marina One.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Above: Facebook's vice-president of Asia-Pacific Dan Neary receiving a T-shirt from Economic Development Board managing director Chng Kai Fong at the opening of Facebook's new office yesterday. Left: Facebook staff at their new office, which is locat
Facebook's vice-president of Asia-Pacific Dan Neary receiving a T-shirt from Economic Development Board managing director Chng Kai Fong at the opening of Facebook's new office yesterday.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Selected start-ups in the region can soon benefit from a six-month accelerator programme that Facebook is launching together with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

Called Startup Station Singapore, the programme announced yesterday will provide selected start-ups with access to mentorships by industry leaders, short training modules and co-working spaces.

The programme, which will be offered to start-ups for free, is set to take off next February and applications are open till Dec 7.

In a joint release, IMDA and Facebook said the programme aims to accelerate the businesses of start-ups in new and cutting-edge ways.

It will also provide these businesses with connections to investors and access to a regulatory sandbox facilitated by the IMDA, which allows them to develop new ideas through the use of data in a live environment.

Mr Alvin Tan, head of public policy for Asean at Facebook, said: "Through our partnership with IMDA for Startup Station Singapore, we will be able to give start-ups the infrastructure and access they need to refine and scale their business models."

The programme is Facebook's first data innovation start-up programme in Asia and the second in the world after France.

Startup Station Singapore was announced as Facebook officially moved yesterday into its new expanded office space in the West Tower of Marina One in the Marina Bay area.

The office will house Facebook's Singapore and regional teams, and occupies more than 24,000 sq m of space across four floors. Facebook, which first set up shop in Singapore a decade ago, now has more than 1,000 employees here.

The opening of the office was attended by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, as well as Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore Community Development Council.

Mr Dan Neary, Facebook's vice-president of Asia-Pacific, said: "Singapore is key to our continued growth in the region, and we are honoured to work with and support some incredible partners in the public and private sector to drive Singapore's economic, innovation and community goals."

Earlier last month, Facebook announced it would be spending $1.4 billion to build its first data centre in Asia here.

The centre will be located in Tanjong Kling, in the western part of Singapore. The 11-storey centre will span 170,000 sq m and support hundreds of jobs, the company said.

Facebook's expansion in Singapore comes at a trying time for the social media giant, following its announcement last Friday of a breach that affected almost 50 million users.

Attackers exploited a previously unknown vulnerability found on Facebook's "view as" feature, which allows users to see what their Facebook profiles look like to others, to gain access to user accounts.

Hariz Baharudin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2018, with the headline 'Facebook, IMDA initiative to give start-ups a leg-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe