Singaporean public-private-academia pact plants flag in Silicon Valley
By Digital News Asia January 12, 2015
- IIPL, NUS Enterprise and SingTel Innov8 establish new community space in SF
- Block 71 to bridge tech startup communities in Singapore and US
INFOCOMM Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), NUS Enterprise and SingTel Innov8 have come together to set up Block 71 San Francisco, a US-based co-working space to strengthen ties between the startup ecosystems in Singapore and the United States.
Singapore tech companies exploring business opportunities in the United States can leverage this facility to better understand the US market, ‘set up shop’ and expand their network into the tech community, the three parties said in a joint statement.
In addition, Block 71 San Francisco will provide opportunities for US-based entrepreneurs, companies and investors to find out more about Singapore and South-East Asian markets, through networking events, talks by experts from the region, and other community activities.
“Block 71 San Francisco is ideally located within the South of Market area, which is a dynamic, up-and-coming area for the technology startup community,” said NUS Enterprise chief executive officer Dr Lily Chan (pic).
“We are happy to be partnering two of Singapore’s iconic investment entities, SingTel Innov8 and IIPL, to extend Singapore’s entrepreneurship community into the San Francisco Bay area. This is also a public-private-IHL1 sector partnership and we hope to see more such collaborations in the future,” she added.
The space in San Francisco builds upon the success of Blk71 in Singapore, said NUS Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Established in 2011, Blk71 in Singapore is home to a growing tech startup community, having transformed from an old industrial estate into a key hub for high growth, innovation-driven technology startups in South-East Asia.
NUS Enterprise, SingTel Innov8 and the Media Development Authority were instrumental in this transformation, having set up a strategic incubation programme within Blk71. IIPL is an active investor and strong advocate of the Blk71 community, having partnered with professional accelerators to scale the development of promising and innovative young tech startups.
“The setup of Block 71 San Francisco strengthens our role as an ecosystem builder to help local innovation-driven tech startups scale fast and tackle important global challenges,” said IIPL head Dr Alex Lin (pic).
“Our partnership with NUS Enterprise and SingTel Innov8 is timely as Singapore is placing increasing emphasis on growing a culture and mindset of experimentation.
“It is no doubt that the Bay Area houses some of the best tech talents and community and we want to provide the collaborative space for our local tech startups to churn big ideas and push the boundaries further,” he added.
San Francisco’s South of Market was chosen to site the facility because of its increasing vibrancy as the home to major software and tech companies’ headquarters, as well as young, up-and-coming tech startups, the three parties said.
There is also a strong investor and accelerator community in the neighbourhood that provides mentoring and coaching to help shape the startups that the market needs.
“In our four years of operation, there’s been a steady increase of US-based companies and venture funds looking to access the South-East Asian market,” said SingTel Innov8 chief executive officer Edgar Hardless.
“Likewise, South-East Asia-based startups and venture funds are looking towards Silicon Valley. Beyond funding, SingTel Innov8’s mission is also to nurture and develop a vibrant innovation ecosystem in the region. Block 71 San Francisco will help create synergies for the greater ecosystem,” he added.
The facility will be available to companies supported by the IIPL, NUS Enterprise and SingTel Innov8. Block 71 San Francisco has co-working space, brainstorming rooms and a gathering area for community events.
NUS Enterprise will manage the co-working space, while the three parties will organise regular community events for Singapore and US-based tech companies, professionals, students and investors to explore business opportunities, network and exchange knowledge.
IIPL and SingTel Innov8 also have offices within the facility, to provide backing and support to Singapore-based tech startups.
Interested start-ups can contact [email protected].
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