IncubatorsThe National Research Foundation of Singapore recently announced a list of 7 incubators(selected out of 32) that is approved under the new Technology Incubation Scheme. I have been personally very interested to see this funding space heat up especially for the Interactive Digital Media (IDM) space in Singapore and have been tracking it closely. The 7 incubators are:

1. Clearbridge Accelerator

2. I2G Tech Accelerator

3. Neoteny Labs

4. Plug & Play Tech Center

5. Social Slingshot

6. Small World Group

7. Stream Global

Out of 7 incubators, it is interesting to note that 4 incubator expressed interest in looking at projects in the IDM industry. They are Neoteny Labs, Plug and Play, Social Slingshot and Stream Global. I wrote previously on another post that these 4 incubators will disrupt the “seed” stage funding in Singapore even though they are poised to fund startups after their seed stage. The other 3 incubators will be focusing on Energy, Clean tech, Biomedical and Nanotechnology.

This is a clear indication of NRF’s emphasis on the IDM industry and its decision to try to plug the funding gap for the startups. It is a big milestone in the local funding/incubation scene as experienced and relevant mentors will be brought in (by TIS) to groom the entrepreneurs and startups. According to Small World Group’s founder, Frank Levinson, he wrote a blog post (dated 1st Dec 09) where he mentioned that 15 proposals were called in for presentation to NRF’s panel. Also, NRF was prepared to support about 3-4 incubators, so a final list of 7 incubators is good news for startups & entrepreneurs.

During the NRF TIS briefing last year in September, Dr Francis Yeoh (CEO of NRF) placed the TIS scheme as a “middle” stage round ($six figures) after the “seed” stage funding (iJam, YES! schemes) in NRF’s roadmap for startups. The Technology Enterprise Commercialization scheme (TECs) was also placed in the “middle” stage as verbally mentioned by Dr Francis. After some email clarification from SPRING, startups that is applying or was awarded the TECs-POC (Proof of Concept) grant is eligible for further support under TIS, TECs-POV (Proof of Value/Commercialization) on the other hand would be considered as double dipping and will not be eligible for TIS. (More details on TECs)

Neoteny Labs is taking the charge here being the most aggressive so far in their outreach to the community. Especially inviting overseas speakers to come for events and discussion with the local entrepreneurs is definitely signs of strong commitment to the Singapore scene. Plug and Play Silicon Valley’s business model is on real estate, charging startups rent and services in the incubator while Saeed’s Amidzad venture firm invests in the top startups. It remains to be seen how Plug and Play will run their Singapore based incubator when the commercial rental market is very different from the Valley’s.


Here’s a brief write up on each incubator:

ClearBridge Accelerator

Singapore incubation arm of HongKong based VC Clearbridge Partners. Likely to partner NUS for technology leverage. Singapore’s incubator managed by 2 Singaporeans & 2 Professors. Focusing on biomedical devices, nanotechnology, advanced material and computational algorithms. Johnson Chen, Chong Chee Wah, Prof Lim Chwee Teck  and Associate Prof Yang Chang Huei.

I2G Tech Accelerator

Focuses on Clean energy, Wireless, IT and medical technologies with a Business-2-Business model. Ali Hussain, Mike Holt.

Neoteny Labs

Focuses on Consumer Web & Hardware, Mobile Applications & Electronics Design. By far, the most community plugged TIS incubator. (They ran the highly successful Neoteny Camp last month). Joi Ito, Reid Hoffman and James Chan.

Plug and Play

Very well known incubator based in Silicon Valley (SV). Building a knowledge transferring bridge between Singapore and Silicon Valley. Definitely interesting to see some SV startups branching into Asia through Singapore and vice versa. Saeed Amidiand Jupe Tan.

Social Slingshot

Focuses on Social Media web, Next-Gen Mobile and Clean Tech areas. Founded by Brad Greenspan (Founder of MySpace). Brad Greenspan, Justin Beckett and Scott Walker.

Small World Group

Focuses on Clean Tech and Optical Systems. Stated to request incubated startups partner with NUS for equipment leverage. Frank Levinson.

Stream Global

Singapore based venture Focusing on ICT & IDM startups. Team is made up of locally known veterans with diverse backgrounds. Bill Liu, Chak Kong Soon, Neoh Kok Cheng and Billy Shum.