S'pore digital media startups get funding boost

New incubation program promises at least US$3.2 million over three years to assist interactive digital media startups in Singapore to develop and market products.

A new incubation program has been established to aid interactive digital media (IDM) startups in Singapore, promising public- and private-sector joint funding of at least S$4 million (US$3.2 million) over three years.

Known as "Blk71", the program is a collaboration by Singapore's media regulator, the Media Development Authority (MDA); SingTel Innov8, the corporate venture arm of the SingTel Group and NUS Enterprise, according to a joint statement Monday from the three organizations. It aims to provide IDM-related startups with a one-stop access to resources, such as legal services and intellectual property management, to develop and market their solutions effectively to customers.

As part of the initiative, MDA and SingTel Innov8 have signed a Memorandum-of-Understanding (MOU) whereby each will contribute an initial funding of S$2 million (US$1.6 million) over three years. The two organizations will make joint Calls-for-Proposals (CFPs) and startups that are selected will receive an initial seed funding of up to S$50,000 (US$39,656) and opportunities to receive S$200,000 (US$158,627) or more in follow-on funding.

MDA and SingTel have also pledged to co-sponsor activities such as industry speaking engagements, workshops and networking events.

MDA will also set aside office and incubation space for IDM startups, and work with NUS Enterprise to foster a vibrant environment for not only startups but also investors and technology partners. The latter will tap its incubator experience and networks to manage the Blk71 space.

"Blk71 will pull together the relevant companies and industry players in the IDM sector that are currently dispersed around Singapore," said Lily Chan, CEO of NUS Enterprise, in the statement. "By bringing these together in one vibrant startup environment, it will build up a critical mass for increased synergy, entrepreneurial dynamism and economies of scale."

Michael Yap, executive director of MDA's Interactive and Digital Media Programme Office, added that the incubation program "augurs well with [the country's] aspiration to develop IDM products and services targeted for the 'next billion Internet users' emerging from Asia".

Last August, MDA announced a venture capital fund worth S$100 million (US$79.2 million) to help early- and growth-stage digital media startups from both Singapore and China break into the two markets.


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