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Second batch of startups for SPH Plug and Play accelerator program unveiled

Singapore, 1 April 2016 — Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), Plug and Play and Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (“IIPL”) today unveiled the second batch of eight tech startups selected for the SPH Plug & Play accelerator program. 

The announcement was made at a launch party held this evening at the SPH News Centre, and was attended by more than 150 guests including senior management of the three partner organisations as well as members from the media and startup communities. 

The eight startups were chosen out of more than 320 applications received from 10 countries over a 5-week period, from January to February 2016.  

70 per cent of the applicants were local startups from Singapore with the remaining from the region, including Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Vietnam. 

The SPH Plug and Play accelerator program was set up in 2015 to help startups that have innovative business and product ideas that will transform and revolutionise the media industry. 

The program is a joint venture between SPH, Silicon Valley-based global startup accelerator Plug and Play, and Infocomm Investments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). It leverages on the three partners’ combined networks as well as their industry knowledge and resources. 

Each successful startup chosen for the accelerator program is entitled to SGD$30,000 seed funding, as well as cloud hosting, analytics, and video support services worth up to SGD$200,000. Each startup will also get access to office space at BASH (79 Ayer Rajah Crescent). In addition, there will be valuable opportunities for the startup owners to network with industry stakeholders and prospective investors.

The eight selected startups cover a diverse cross-section of media businesses and technologies, in sectors such as content marketing, news and content distribution, digital ad technologies, online market places and customer empowerment. 

The startups are as follows (listed in alphabetical order) – 
1) Ad+ Platform – www.adplusplatform.comAd+ is a unified marketing platform based on artificial intelligence and self-learning algorithms.

2) Fixir – www.fixir.coFixir empowers drivers by connecting them to reliable car workshops for their car maintenance and repair needs.

3) GOtixs - www.gotixs.comGOtixs is an online clearing-house for unsold event tickets which allows consumers to name their price for the tickets of their desired events.

4) Intheloop - http://intheloop.com.sg/IntheLoop is a digital portal that connects health & wellness businesses with like-minded consumers.

5) Makerscut – www.makerscut.comMakerscut is a crowdfunding platform that helps product designers bring their designs to the market.

6) Refash – www.refash.sgRefash is an innovative fashion and e-commerce marketplace that helps consumers buy and sell secondhand clothing.

7) Reserv - www.reserv.sg Reserv make neighbourhoods such as condos, housing estates and communities smarter by providing an app for interactions between residents, online booking of facilities and for on-demand home services.

8) Wondertech – www.wondertech.iosWondertech is a data aggregation platform that converts unstructured data into structured data, with little or no human intervention.

Mr Glenn Ong, cofounder of Fixir said: “Right from the start, we knew that the program gave us the best shot at succeeding as SPH had the most effective platforms to reach out to drivers locally and the Plug and Play accelerator programme can provide us with the expertise to venture into the region.” 

Mr Sandeep Menon, cofounder of Reserv said: “We are excited to be part of the program, and look forward to kicking off the next phase of our growth story with SPH Plug and Play. As a startup founder, I am always looking for opportunities and partnerships which can bring the business to the next level, and with SPH Plug and Play, we have found a capable and committed partner. If the journey to be part of the second batch was anything to go by, the next three months should be exciting and challenging, something that my team and me, look forward to.” 

Mr Kendrick Wong, cofounder of GOtixs said: “The team is thrilled at chance to learn from all partners involved in the SPH Plug and Play Program to make GOtixs the preferred platform for experience seekers to discover and purchase events.”

The inaugural SPH Plug and Play accelerator program that ran in 2015 attracted over 280 applicants. Some of its first batch of startups have since gone on to secure additional funding, forged strategic partnerships or garnered accolades for their products and services. 

Snapask, which provides on-demand academic support for high school students, has raised additional funding of close to USD2 million. Snapask came in second place in the IBM Watson New Venture Challenge, a six-week competition for Asia Pacific-based startups that will use IBM Watson technology to get insights from unstructured data so as to build a live prototype and business plan.

Bolt, a content management platform that connects businesses to writers and content producers, had also received additional funding of more than SGD$100,000. Its cofounder and business development lead, Ms Chan Yi Wen, was recently featured in Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” Asia list as one of the promising entrepreneurs to look out for in the media industry. 

Social data analytics company Circus Social recently partnered with Datasift, a US-based human data intelligence provider, to offer market reports based on anonymous and aggregated content data that people share about their activities, events, and other interests on Facebook.

Mr Rudy Lim, Head of SPH Plug and Play said: “We are indeed very proud of the achievements of our pioneer batch of startups. Their achievements are a testament of the all-round impact of our accelerator progam – beyond the funding, the startups benefitted from the guidance of the mentors and the networking with key media industry contacts. This offers the startups a valuable headstart in terms of access to clients and ideas to fine tune their business offerings.” 

“We are also very encouraged by the response to our call for applicants and our second batch of startups. They offer exciting innovations that are at the forefront of addressing the multitude of challenges faced by an increasingly fragmented media industry. Change is the only constant. Through our accelerator program, we look forward to work with these bright new startups in accelerating innovations to engage our loyal readers and advertisers.” 

Mr Jupe Tan, Senior Vice-President, Global Operations for Plug and Play said: “We are very happy with the progress of our first batch of startups and we are looking forward to working with the second batch. We look forward to investing in more startups as the regional high tech ecosystems continue to develop.”

Dr Alex Lin, Head of Infocomm Investments said: “We have seen good results from the first batch of startups, with all teams having raised funding within six months of graduating from the acceleration program. I am also happy to note that seven out of the eight startups selected for SPH Plug and Play’s second batch have Singaporean founding teams - This is out of the 320 applications we received from around the region. There is a growing number of young Singaporeans striking out into entrepreneurship. This visible change in mindset towards entrepreneurship is a strong encouragement for SPH Plug and Play and IIPL to continue energising the Singapore economy through building more innovative startups.”

The second SPH Plug and Play Accelerator Program will run for a total of 14 weeks, culminating in the Demo Day in mid-June where the startups will be expected to do their pitch to an audience comprising angel investors, venture capitalist, financiers and leaders from corporates and government sectors 

For more information on the SPH Plug and Play accelerator program, visit

Website: 
www.sphplugandplay.com
Facebook Page: 
www.facebook.com/SPHxPnP


Enclosed – 
1) Appendix 1 - List of startups for SPH Plug and Play Accelerator Program 2016
2) SPH Plug and Play Accelerator Program 2016 – Photos of startups’ co-founders and staff
(link - 
http://creative.sphdigital.com/2016/temp/8photos.zip)
3) Event photo 


(Front row, left to right) Mr Rudy Lim, Head of SPH Plug and Play; Mr Julian Tan, Head, Digital Division, SPH; Mr Chua Boon Ping, CEO, SPH Media Fund; Dr Alex Lin, Head of Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd and Mr Jupe Tan, Senior Vice-President, Global Operations for Plug and Play with the lead founders of the eight startups chosen as the second batch of the SPH Plug and Play Accelerator Program for 2016.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E

For more information, please contact:

Carinna Goh (Ms)
Marketing and Community Manager
SPH Plug and Play 
Email: carinna@sphplugandplay.com

Yeo Siew Chi (Mr)
Manager
Corporate Communications & CSR
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: 6319 1586

Email: 
yeosc@sph.com.sg 

Amanda Kwek (Ms)
Communications Manager 
Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd
DID: 6996 6431
Email: amanda@infocomminvestments.com


SPH MEDIA FUND

SPH Media Fund is the corporate venture capital fund of Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (“SPH”) with a fund size of S$100m. The fund has a global mandate and seeks to invest in early-stage innovative companies in the areas of Digital Media (including advertising technology and content aggregation/ distribution/ consumption) and Consumer Internet (including e-commerce, marketplaces, social media, education technology, financial technology, etc). Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Asia’s leading media organisation. Incorporated in 1984, SPH is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and is in media, online classifieds, properties, events and out-of-home advertising as well as other businesses.  


PLUG AND PLAY


Plug & Play is a global startup accelerator that specializes in growing high tech startups. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Plug & Play’s network includes over 200 corporations, investors, universities and other partners across verticals such as Retail, Fin-Tech, Internet of Things, Media and Cloud. Through the investment arm, which began as Amidzad Partners in 1998 and is now Plug & Play Ventures have invested in over 350 high tech startups globally. 


INFOCOMM INVESTMENTS


Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) builds and invests in Singapore and global infocomm technology start-ups. Managing a fund size of more than US$200 million, it accelerates the development of start-ups in their formative phase, and invests further as they grow and expand. Through its investments, partnerships with stakeholders across private and public sectors, and global reach, IIPL plays a central role in building a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem in Singapore for start-ups to flourish. IIPL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore.