Grab, IMDA to pilot accelerator for Singapore start-ups eyeing overseas expansion

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Ride-hailing giant Grab and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will be piloting an accelerator programme targeted at Singapore start-ups looking to venture overseas, both parties said in a media statement on Tuesday (March 17).

The Singapore pilot of the programme, Grab Ventures Ignite (GVI), will focus on startups looking to expand to Vietnam.

It will be held alongside the GVI Vietnam programme to enable startups from both countries to exchange ideas and learn from one another, the statement said. GVI Vietnam is a six-month scale-up programme for startups based in Vietnam.

Grab and IMDA will evaluate the Singapore start-ups based on a range of criteria, including but not limited to, core team strength, existing standing in the Singapore market, potential fit with the Vietnamese market, and readiness to expand.

Two start-ups will be selected for the full 14-week GVI accelerator, which will include professional training and mentorship from Grab’s leaders, immersion trips to regional Grab markets in Indonesia and Vietnam, and a chance to pitch regional investors and raise further funding.

These two start-ups will also join another three selected startups for a three-day boot camp designed to help build capabilities to develop customer-centric products and services.

All five start-ups will be able to network with their Vietnamese counterparts during the boot camp.

It will be hosted by Grab, IMDA’s Pixel innovation space and Digital Industry Singapore (DISG). DISG is the joint office of the Economic Development Board, Enterprise Singapore and IMDA which engages with the technology sector.

All participants of both the boot camp and the full 14-week GVI accelerator programme will also receive cloud credits of up to US$100,000 (S$142,000) each, access to co-working space and other equipment and facilities at Pixel, as well as mentoring from experts in customer-centric innovation.

GVI’s partners include Vietnam’s National Innovation Center (under the Ministry of Planning and Investment), regional venture capital firm Gobi Partners, co-working space developer Toong, law firm YKVN, and cloud provider Amazon Web Services.

Applications for the Singapore GVI accelerator programme are open until Apr 10, 2020.

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