Friday 13 February 2015

BASH is launched: Biggest facility yet to help grow startups in Singapore

By Ann Williams, The Straits Times, 11 Feb 2015

It's called BASH - as in Build Amazing Startups Here - and it's Singapore's biggest all-in-one startup facility.

An initiative by the Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), the investment arm of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), BASH will allow members and partners of the tech building community across the entire value chain - from accelerators, investors, incubators to entrepreneurs - to meet under one roof.

Spanning across more than 25,000 square feet on Level 3 of Block 79, IIPL will leverage the extensive space and provide all the necessary facilities including a prototyping lab, valuable mentorship and community networks to grow promising, innovation driven tech product startups from ideation, acceleration, incubation to expansion.

Said Mr Steve Leonard, IDA executive deputy chairman and chairman of IIPL: "We have made great progress in having global partners such as the European accelerator Startupbootcamp set up a FinTech-focused operation here in Singapore.

"As part of Singapore's journey to be a Smart Nation, we are also working on some really tough global challenges brought on by the inevitable trends of ageing population and urban density. That's the purpose of having BASH, the go-to-place for tech builders, investors and innovators to do more great things together."

At the launch, Dr Yaacob announced that IIPL has signed a memorandum of understanding with Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and US-based global accelerator Plug and Play to run a corporate accelerator programme that will build high growth, innovation driven Singapore-based digital media startups. The first run is targeted to commence by the middle of this year.

The success of Singaporean tech startup team, Glints, in closing a seed funding round from various key investors including Infocomm Investments was also shared by the minister at the event.

Glints, a career discovery and development platform for youths founded by three 21-year-old Singaporeans, graduated from the Joyful Frog Digital Incubator, one of IIPL's accelerator partners, in July last year. In a span of less than seven months after graduation, it successfully secured venture capital funding totalling $475,000, led by early stage venture fund East Ventures.

The Glints founders will also be the first startup team to benefit from BASH, where they will continue building their product and business under the mentorship of IIPL and other partners.

Said SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan: "The media industry is undergoing many changes today. It also presents opportunities for young entrepreneurs to contribute their ideas and create an impact in the industry. We are delighted to work with IIPL and Plug and Play on an accelerator programme to discover and support outstanding start-ups that will make a difference to our media scene.

"We have also invested in Glints through our SPH Media Fund, which would continue to fund promising early stage ventures."

Young Singapore Ivy League dropouts attract $475,000 in funding for startup
By Cheryl Ong, The Straits Times, 11 Feb 2015

Three young Singaporeans, who met at Hwa Chong Institution, have done what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Apple's Steve Jobs and Microsoft's Bill Gates have famously done before - dropped out of their Ivy League universities to pursue their dream.

It's the stuff of many Singapore parents' nightmares.

Mr Oswald Yeo, Mr Seah Ying Cong and Mr Looi Qin En, all 21 years old, put their studies and scholarships on hold at the Wharton Business School and University of California, Berkeley, to help tackle the problems confronting the 75 million unemployed young people in the world.

But the enterprising trio have already secured $475,000 in seed money from venture capitalists and media agencies for their startup, Glints.

The seed round, which was in fact oversubscribed, was led by East Ventures and joined by 500 Startups, SPH Media Fund, Singapore Infocomm Investments (IIPL), 8 Capita, Pix Vine Capital and other private investors

So what is Glints?

It is a talent recruitment and matching platform which helps young people seek out skill sets required in different careers, and to match them with jobs, internships and courses that could cultivate those skills in demand.

"Companies can also look forward to an innovative recrutiing tool to hire the right talent easily and quickly on Glints," said the firm in a press release on Wednesday (Feb 11).

The three Glint founders were the youngest to go through a programme run by tech accelerator JFDI (Joyful Frog Digital Incubator), winning the confidence of firms such as SPH Media Fund and Singapore Infocomm Investments.

While the firm also performs headhunting functions for employers, payment is only needed when candidates are matched to firms successfully.

Glints said it already has over 7,000 students and 600 companies on its platform.

"We chose Glints because they are solving a pressing and global talent problem for our society," said Alex Lin, head of IIPL. "The injection of new funds will speed up their development and help them address the market globally."

Mr Willson Cuaca, managing partner at East Ventures, added that the young entrepreneurs continued to attract interest from investors after closing calls for financing. "The young and passionate team has shown market validation in such a short time since inception."

Mr Yeo, who is a co-founder of Glints said the "bold moves" made by the team, in a "conservative Asian culture" has attracted "a lot of societal and familiar pressure".

"We only did this because we have the opportunity to take on such a huge, global problem that we are passionate about solving. Most importantly, we are glad to have the opportunity to cross the gap between formal education and the real world sooner," said Mr Yeo.

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