Introducing Bash - biggest space to help grow start-ups

Introducing Bash - biggest space to help grow start-ups

THE name is memorable - Bash - and so is the aim. Singapore's largest space dedicated to start-ups was opened yesterday to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to build a strong pipeline of new businesses.

Bash stands for Build Amazing Startups Here and is an open-style workspace with meeting and seminar rooms as well as a bar. It is about the size of half a football field, or 25,000 sq ft.

Already, investors behind start-ups that turned huge - including Skype and Baidu, China's version of Google - have called in to take a look.

This hotbed of entrepreneurial excitement, at Block 79 in the Ayer Rajah Industrial Estate, will house start-ups able to get mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs - and meet investors. Bash also offers a prototyping lab.

It is the brainchild of Infocomm Investments (IIPL), the venture arm of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

Yesterday, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim opened Bash. He said the Government is committed to building the technology entrepreneurial ecosystem here in its push to cultivate start-up growth. It would help these potential tycoons of the future develop new ideas, refine business strategies and receive mentoring.

All this input will help in two crucial areas: getting better funding and securing connections to overseas markets. IDA executive deputy chairman Steve Leonard said "there are no wrong or right ideas. We want people to try".

Dr Yaacob announced that Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has opened a corporate accelerator to build start-ups in the digital media sector. Accelerators are bootcamps that help start-ups by refining their business ideas and models before they are taught to pitch to investors.

SPH has signed a memorandum of understanding with IIPL and US-based global accelerator Plug and Play to run the accelerator. The first batch of start-ups are set to begin the programme by the middle of this year.

Said Dr Yaacob: "Large corporations like SPH play an important role in the ecosystem as highly valuable pilot customers and test beds for young, early-stage tech entrepreneurs, providing them with the capital, domain knowledge and customer base to innovate."

He said SPH has invested in a young start-up called Glints, a platform to help young people learn about careers and get real-world experience. Glints raised $475,000 from the SPH Media Fund and other investors such as Singapore-based venture capital firm East Ventures, American accelerator 500 Startups and local investment firm 8capita.

SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan said: "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."

The opening was attended by the who's who of the local start-up community, including serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and policymakers.

Crowdfunding start-up FundedByMe's Asia-Pacific general manager Adrian Koh said: "We need places like Bash. It's breaking down barriers for people to get together and let their ideas cross-pollinate."

This article was first published on February 12, 2015.
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