STARTUP SCENE

SPH Plug & Play unveils second batch of startups

Singapore

EIGHT tech companies - from design crowdfunding to facilities management - were unveiled on Friday as the second batch of startups selected for the SPH Plug & Play accelerator programme.

"These (companies) offer exciting innovations that (address) the multitude of challenges faced by an increasingly fragmented media industry," said Rudy Lim, head of SPH Plug and Play.

They are:

  • Ad+ Platform, which lets brand owners and advertisers create and monitor their campaigns online
  • Fixir, an app that lets drivers request for quotations on car repairs via text or photos
  • GOtixs, a pricing system that allows event owners to liquidate unsold tickets
  • Intheloop, a portal that connects health and wellness businesses with consumers
  • Makerscut, a crowdfunding site for product designers
  • Refash, a fashion marketplace for unwanted apparels or second-hand clothes
  • Reserv, a condominium facilities management system for facility owners and residents
  • Wondertech, a software that turns news into data without machine learning or data science.

The eight, shortlisted from over 320 applications from 10 countries, will each get S$30,000 in seed funding, up to S$200,000 worth of cloud hosting, analytics, and video support services, and office space at BASH, located at LaunchPad @ one-north.

Alex Lin, head of Infocomm Investments, said this year's batch featured more deep tech offerings such as artificial intelligence and software that lets computers understand unstructured data - a task only humans used to be able to do. "We hope to attract more deep tech startups, as such technologies are scalable and create higher entry barriers," he told The Business Times.

SPH Plug and Play's inaugural batch of eight startups has done well, Mr Lim said. Snapask, which provides on-demand academic support for high-school students, raised additional funding of nearly US$2 million. Bolt, a content management platform that connects businesses to writers, also received follow-on funding exceeding S$100,000.

Jupe Tan, senior vice-president (global operations) at Plug and Play, added that operations have been fine-tuned for the second run of the accelerator programme, including improving the matching of solutions by early-stage startups to large firms.

Launched in 2015, SPH Plug and Plug is a joint venture by SPH (Singapore Press Holdings), Plug and Play (a Silicon Valley accelerator), and Infocomm Investments (IIPL, the investment arm of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore) to nurture new ideas that could transform the media industry.