Singapore to offer dedicated accelerator for cybersecurity startups

Dubbed ICE71, the accelerator is set up by Singtel's VC arm Innov8 and National University of Singapore's NUS Enterprise, and will offer support to help local and foreign cybersecurity startups.

A new accelerator will soon be available in Singapore to young companies focused on building cybersecurity products and services.

Called Innovation Cyber Security Ecosystem at Block 71 (ICE71), the accelerator would begin operations next month and be the first in the country dedicated to offer support for cybersecurity startups.

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The new facility is set up by Singtel's venture capital arm Innov8 and National University of Singapore's entrepreneurial unit NUS Enterprise. Located at Block 71 Ayer Rajah Crescent, which houses local technology startups, it also is supported by government agencies Infocommunications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA).

The accelerator would be an extension of an existing partnership between NUS and Singtel, which jointly set up a cybersecurity research lab in October 2016. Located at NUS School of Computing, the S$42.8 million lab aimed to establish data analytics techniques to that could better detect and respond to cybersecurity attacks in real-time as well as new approaches to deploy IT system based on a "secure by design" concept.

Establishing ICE71 was a "natural transition" of this collaboration and underscored the need to develop "innovative solutions" to combat the increased scale and sophistication of cybersecurity threats, said Singtel Innov8's CEO Edgar Hardless.

He said the accelerator aimed to support both local and foreign cybersecurity startups, helping them "finetune" their products for global markets.

The new Singapore facility also would be working with London-based cybersecurity accelerator CyLon, to offer learning platforms and other resources to help startups through three initial programmes: "inspire", "accelerate", and "scale".

These comprised a five-day pre-accelerator bootcamp for researchers, students, and entrepreneurs to test cybersecurity business concepts, as well as a three-month accelerator programme to provide early stage star-ups with financial and business structures, and go-to-market strategies.

Startups also would receive help on expanding their business across the Asia-Pacific region and other global markets.

In addition, ICE71 startups could tap Singtel's platforms to test and develop proof-of-concept products in a simulated environment. They also would have access to other support services including working space, funding, and subject matter experts.

CSA's deputy chief executive for development, Teo Chin Hock, said: "By working together with the industry, we aim to prepare entrepreneurs, equip them with the know-how as well as help them grow and scale up by bringing their ideas and solutions to the global market."

The Singapore government last year unveiled plans to set up a cybersecurity command centre to combat increasing threats and beef up skillsets in cyberdefence. Running 24 by 7, the facility encompassed four key groups and comprised top-ranking military and armed officers. It would be manned by soldiers operating within divisions overseeing cybersecurity operations, policy and planning, vulnerability assessment, and cyberdefence.

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