With more accelerator programs being injected into the Singaporean ecosystem, it’s hard to filter through the noise. In just the last two years, millions of dollars have been committed to numerous accelerator programs.
There is also a growing trend of corporate sponsored accelerators and incubators, seeking to leverage startups as a quick fix to their innovation woes (let’s overlook for now the fact that ‘quick fix’ insofar as corporate innovation is concerned is an oxymoron). While corporate accelerator programs can be an effective form of open innovation, if taken lightly they can quickly become a trainwreck with little benefits realisation for the corporate sponsor or the participating startups.
It’s critical to have an experienced partner on board to facilitate your accelerator program. Here are ten of the top corporate accelerator programs in Singapore, which combine both deep domain and startup building expertise.
As the name states, this accelerator is focused on financial innovation. The three-month program offers funding, mentorship, office space and access to a global network of investors and venture capitalists, for up to 10 selected startups per year. Its major partners and shareholders include DBS, Mastercard, PwC, Thomson Reuters and Jungle Ventures among others. Startups receive SGD$25,000 for a 6% equity stake in their business.
This accelerator organised by IBM Watson, in conjunction with TAG.PASS, has a key focus on cognitive technologies. The program seeks startups with ideas or solutions to address problems via the power of cognitive computing. Over three months, startups receive office space, mentorship, education and IBM Watson’s network of product experts and industry insights.
SPH Plug & Play accelerator invests in startups with a focus on advertising, e-commerce, marketplaces, mobile, news and content distribution. The media and technology-themed accelerator program leverages its media expertise and resources, as well as Singapore government’s premier technology fund to support its selected startups. The accelerator provides SGD$30,000 of funding for 6% in equity.
Supported by Mercedes-Benz, Startup Autobahn Singapore is looking for startups with a focus on the internet of things, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, location-based services, natural language processing, predictive analytics, and more. In partnership with the National University of Singapore, the program will offer mentorship, access to investors and the company’s network, tools and training.
AIA, the largest pan-Asian life insurance group has joined forces with Konica Minolta, a global leader in digital imaging, printing and medical diagnostics. The corporate accelerator aims to nurture startups that will contribute to an integrated healthcare delivery system in Singapore. The 12 week program is designed to support entrepreneurs and businesses to deliver innovative solutions through integrating data to healthcare delivery. Startups will receive corporate and commercial expertise from both founding companies.
United Overseas Bank (UOB) joined forces with Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), a unit of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to run a fintech accelerator. The 100-day accelerator program will provide up to $440,000 in cash and benefits to 30 financial services technology (fintech) startups. UOB is providing each startup with $30,000 in seed funding, in exchange for a 6 per cent equity stake.
Collective Campus, based in Singapore and Melbourne, provides startups with a 13-week bootcamp which includes a working space, access to industry mentors and funding from corporate partners. The purpose of the bootcamp is to boost startups’ chance of finding product market fit. Offering numerous industry-specific accelerators, Collective Campus has partnered with mid-tier law firm Mills Oakley to propel legaltech synergies and is also partnering with Microsoft to accelerate opportunities in the mixed reality space.
Global technology giant, Oracle, is bringing its Startup Cloud Accelerator program to Singapore, after the success of its pilot program in Bangalore in April, 2016. The accelerator runs for six-months and provides startups with technical mentoring, a co-working space, access to the Oracle network and cloud credits. The initiative will continue to fuel cloud-enabled innovation and is open to early-stage technology and technology-enabled startups.
Spark Accelerator is Asia’s first utility-led accelerator programme, supported by energy utilities company Singapore Power, and venture capital firm Infocomm Investments. The accelerator aims to discover and develop new technologies and solutions to serve the future energy needs of consumers. Through Spark, startups can leverage the industry expertise and network of SP, and the venture capital ecosystem of mentors and investors of IIPL. Spark will invest up to S$4 million to groom some 30 startups - or S$30,000 in each startup in return for a 6 per cent equity stake.
muru-D is a leading international corporate-backed accelerator. It involves a 6-month program, which is the amount of time they believe provides sufficient runway and continuity to grow the startup’s business. Muru-D provides access to their network of advisors and supporting businesses from around the world. Its Singapore leadership team all have startup experience as well as strong C-Suite networks within the corporate community. Muru-D provides SGD$40,000 and a working space, in exchange for 6% in equity.
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To help you avoid stepping into these all too common pitfalls, we’ve reflected on our five years as an organization working on corporate innovation programs across the globe, and have prepared 100 DOs and DON’Ts.