The life of a startup founder is fraught with uncertainties. Sure, you might have an amazing idea, one that could change the world, but at the end of the day, it’s like the famous saying: “It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen”.
So, the big question is, how do you turn your idea from a nascent thought in the vestiges of your mind to a living, breathing company ready to take on the world and all its challenges? Where do you find the help, the knowledge, the expertise and most importantly, the contacts needed to bring your business forward?
Well, you could attempt this arduous task on your own, but nowadays, help is at hand for such startups in the form of specialised companies — accelerators and incubators. What accelerators and incubators do is first look at your idea and decide whether they want to take you on. If they feel you are worthy, then these companies and their teams will work with you to get the product out to market. They also help with the annoying things like marketing by teaching the same to founders and helping them understand the industry.
Think of them as mentors and teachers who help turn the unpolished ideas of startup founders into polished businesses. In fact, for some of the most prestigious accelerators and incubators such as Y Combinator in the US, getting accepted is a gruelling task where only the cream of the crop make it through. Startups that come through the ranks of such accelerators are often viewed favourably by investors and the likes, which leads to funding and a long happy road to the mystical land of the IPO.
For a cut. Of course.
Here, in Singapore, in our little red dot in the middle of the South China Sea, the entrepreneurship machine is firing on all cylinders, creating one of the most fertile regions in the world for technopreneurship. This has also led to many accelerators and incubators opening their doors here. So many in fact that we often get asked about who these mystical accelerators are and where they can be found.
So, without further ado, here is our list of the tech accelerators and incubators in Singapore. It is by no means definitive and we will update it when information comes our way.
About: Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) comprises corporate members ranging from local startups to establish MNCs. SiTF advocates for the ICM (Information, Communications and Media) industry and helps to accelerate the adoption ICM technology. SiTF works closely with various stakeholders to promote emerging technologies in areas such as digital media, cloud computing, green IT, wireless, security and governance. SiTF also provide platforms to help members with opportunities to increase their market presence and business reach.
About: Fatfish partners with entrepreneurs to facilitate building Internet ventures with the potential to scale globally through its proprietary process “Seed-to-Exit”. The company focusses on digital ideas with a proven business model and is the first Internet venture accelerator to list on the Australian Securities Exchange. The company has a significant pipeline of opportunities at various stages of development and is targeting growth in emerging markets, particularly in Southeast Asia.
Location: 3 Science Park Drive, #02-12/25, The Franklin, Singapore Science Park 1, Singapore 118223
About: FocusTech Ventures supports founders that seek to solve real world problems and radically improve crucial workflows of and pervasive inefficiencies in major enterprise industries such as energy, finance, education, manufacturing and healthcare.
About: East Ventures is an early-stage fund focussing on consumer web and mobile startups in Indonesia and Singapore. Apart from financial assistance, it also nurtures the ecosystem through its Ventures Night events in Jakarta and Bandung and also through its 100-day accelerator programme, East Ventures Alpha.
About: Angel’s Gate Advisory Pte Ltd is an appointed i.JAM Reload incubator. Funded by the Media Development Authority (MDA) of Singapore, this programme aims to support budding technopreneurs with up to S$250,000 (about US$200,000) seed funding and grow their startups into profitable growing businesses.
About: One of the stalwarts of the Singapore scene, JFDI offers programmes for business startups and professionals. Its partners are grassroots organisations, governments and top corporations. Its practical work is underpinned by close relationships with the world’s leading academic institutions and independent thinkers.
About: Expara is a venture creation company established in Singapore since 2003. Expara develops and teaches entrepreneurship, innovation and venture finance through experiential training programmes and innovation challenges for entrepreneurs, corporations and public institutions in Southeast Asia. Douglas Abrams, the Founder of Expara, has been investing, teaching, training and mentoring entrepreneurs in Singapore since 2000 and has been focussed on the interactive and digital media space since Expara’s inception.
Location: Interactive & Digital Media Programme Office (IDMPO), Media Development Authority, 3 Fusionopolis Way, #16-22 Symbiosis, Singapore 138633
About: The IDM Jump-start and Mentor (i.JAM) programme aims to drive innovation and entrepreneurship by creating in Singapore a capacity for continuous and self-sustaining grassroots innovation. Under this programme, the i.JAM Micro-funding Scheme (i.JAM scheme) will support startups and individuals with breakthrough ideas that can be developed into innovative products and services. This will be done through a network of incubators who will work closely with IDMPO to manage i.JAM according to the spirit and intent of the i.JAM programme.
Location: 11 Eunos Road 8, #07-02 Lifelong Learning Institute, 408601
About: Established in 2011, Red Dot Ventures (RedDot) is a seed-stage venture capital firm focussed on Singapore-based high-tech startups in areas including ICT, interactive digital media (IDM), MedTech, nanotech, clean technology, and engineering.
Location: 67 Ayer Rajah Crescent Unit 03-20/22, Singapore 139950
About: With incubation managers and venture partners in Silicon Valley and Singapore, Get2Volume provides mentorship, operational and execution capabilities to enable success. It operates alongside its incubatee companies by providing 50 years of combined hands-on experience in creating, growing and monetising enterprise businesses.
Location: 306 Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park Office Campus, Singapore- 247973
About: Jungle Ventures is a Singapore-based, entrepreneur-backed venture firm that funds and helps startups scale across Asia Pacific. It invests in global startups that are solving problems relevant to Asia Pacific markets. It currently has investments in the US, Singapore, India, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
About: TNF Ventures is one of the 14 incubators selected by National Research Foundation for Technology Incubation Scheme (TIS). It is founded by a group of established Singaporean entrepreneurs and veteran business professionals . The team has extensive network in Singapore, Asia and America. Half of them resides in China, offering network connections for startups who are interested in entering China market. TNF Ventures invests in companies in Technology Media Telecommunication (TMT), medical tech, clean tech and biotech field.
About: Golden Gate Ventures is a seed-level investment firm that focusses on companies building out consumer Internet products and services for Southeast Asia. The company has a presence in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. It prefers companies with a launched product or those with established valuable distribution partnerships in the region.
About: Azione Capital Pte Ltd is an early-stage venture capital investment company and startup business incubator headquartered in Singapore. The company specialises in mentoring, incubating and investing in digital media, mobile communications (inclusive of the full spectrum of wireless technologies), energy and maritime industry startups that operate primarily within Asia.
About: Crystal Horse helps startups with various business-related activities that typically includes legal, accounting, marketing, strategic and technical areas. Most of its investments are in the web, mobile and general Internet space.
About: Ruvento Ventures is a Singapore-based venture capital firm with global exposure. It is focussedon the linking of entrepreneurs and investors investing in early-stage startups with significant technological background. Its investment philosophy is to help core-technology startups from underserved markets like Russia andChina, bring their products and expertise to global markets using Singapore as launchpad. Direct investments are limited to US$200,000, though it can build syndication for the right deal for up to US$500,000.
Location: 81 Science Park Drive, #02-03 The Chadwick, Singapore, Science Park 1, Singapore 118257
About: Clearbridge Acceleratorinvests mainly in healthcare, infosecurity and technology companies. Its team consists of serial entrepreneurs withexperience in key markets such as the US, China, Japan and Australia. Via a public-private partnership with the Singapore Government, Clearbridge Accelerator manages both a S$40 million (about US$32 million) fund to invest in life science companies, and an incubator scheme that invests up to S$1 million (about US$0.8 million) for seed-stage companies with a heavy focus on Asia.
About: WaveMaker Labs is an approved technology incubator under the Singaporean government’s National Research Foundation (NRF). Under the Technology Incubation Scheme (TIS), WaveMaker enjoys a 5.6x leverage on its investment capital with the NRF providing up to S$500,000 (about US$400,000) per startup on top of the S$89,000 (US$71,000) that WaveMaker invests per company. With this, WaveMaker aims to catalyse the formation of many value-creating technology businesses in Southeast Asia, India and China.
About: Stream Global’s main focus is in the emerging enterprise in the sectors of infocomm technology (ICT) and interactive media. The company helps Asian-based startups scale their ICT technologies for larger markets while still keeping focussed on Asia and the needs of the Asian market.
About: NTU Ventures Pte Ltd is the commercial arm and technology holding company of the Nanyang Technological University. NTU Ventures supports the University’s mission to promote innovation, cultivate entrepreneurship and facilitate the commercialisation of research.
About: Established in 2006, Plug and Play Singapore is focussed on sourcing, funding, and accelerating the growth of the most promising young high tech companies. It currently has operations in countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Egypt, Canada and a number of US cities.
About: TechCube8 is a private technology investor and incubator selected by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Singapore to promote entrepreneurship and high-tech R&D in the region. It aims to identify and co-invest in early-stage technology platforms and companies with the aim of creating international growth champions.
Location: 21 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, I3 Building #05-00 (S), 119613
About: Established in 2001, the National University of Singapore’s NUS Enterprise provides an enterprise dimension to NUS teaching and research that involves the university’s students, staff and alumni. NUS Enterprise augments and complements the University’s academic programmes and nurtures talents to possess an entrepreneurial and global mind-set. It provides experiential entrepreneurial education, active industry partnerships, comprehensive entrepreneurship support, catalytic entrepreneurship outreach, and is a bridge to the industry for the University.
About: AccelerAsia helps companies to rapidly grow in Southeast Asia. It provides access to a well developed regional network of key decision-makers in various industries and claims to have a strong track record in a number of industries such as telecommunications, digital media and publishing, and SaaS/cloud services.
Location: 8 Eu Tong Sen Street #24-89/90 The Central, Singapore 059818
About: Leo Tech Services Pte Ltd is a software, infrastructure and innovation house that was established in 2010. Leo Tech provides technical expertise and customised solutions for customers and partners across a wide range of industry sectors from healthcare to finance, and works with organisations ranging from start-ups and NGOs, corporate multinationals, to local and foreign government bodies. It has a growing team of over 77 specialists from varying industry backgrounds to provide ideas and solutions, simplifying complex technical problems and driving business transformation with elegant solutions. The company’s core expertise is in high frequency and high volume secures transactions across the web and a range of proprietary POPs and CDNs, QA, web analytics, systems security and networking.
Focustech Ventures is a venture creation firm that invests in seed stage companies and provides entrepreneurs with resources, guidance, and strategic connections to build enduring firms.