Start-ups here closed deals worth $14.3b last year, Latest Business News - The New Paper

Start-ups here closed deals worth $14.3b last year

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The amount was spread over 353 deals

Start-ups here closed 353 financing deals worth US$10.5 billion (S$14.3 billion) last year, an increase from the 160 deals worth US$0.8 billion in 2012, according to Enterprise Singapore (ESG).

Notable deals included technology company Grab's US$2 billion and Alchemy Foodtech's $2.5 million and healthcare app FriarTuck's US$3.63 million.

The agency released the figures as it launched the third edition of Slingshot, an international start-up competition on Friday.

Assistant chief executive Edwin Chow said the agency will continue working with overseas and local partners, including public agencies, this year to grow the start-up scene here, adding that more than 1,160 start-ups benefited from the agency's programmes last year.

An example is a programme called Partnerships for Capability Transformation through Government Lead Demand, or Gov-Pact, where public agencies initiate innovative projects by stating the challenges they face, allowing start-ups to propose solutions.

An $80 million kitty was announced for the Gov-Pact initiative during Budget 2017 to drive innovation through government-led demand.

In the pipeline this year are 24 calls for proposals, one more than the 23 between 2017 and 2018, the ESG said.

The Housing Board, for example, launched the Cool Ideas Enterprise last year to encourage entrepreneurs or companies to submit ideas on how to improve public housing estates as part of an open innovation programme.

Initial ideas included a green earth-retaining system developed by the Housing Board and Nanyang Technological University that prevents slope failure due to rainfall, and a nanogel that can help more plant types to grow in HDB estates.

Mr Chow said: "Targeted platforms for start-ups to connect with investors and customers serve as valuable opportunities for start-ups to access resources such as financing, and opens doors to co-innovation with leading corporations."

The ESG has also appointed 17 more mentors to its Startup SG Founder programme in addition to the current 45, and about 200 start-ups will benefit from the programme this year, the agency said.

Mr Chow said that the ESG and the Economic Development Board are strengthening the Republic's connections to major innovation hubs around the world by setting up centres in four more cities, though it did not provide their locations. 

Centres set up last year were in Munich, Berlin, Suzhou, Paris and Tokyo.