10 start-ups get $17m from Spring Seeds

PHOTO: 10 start-ups get $17m from Spring Seeds

A GOVERNMENT scheme that gives budding entrepreneurs vital funding has provided a total of $17 million to 10 local start-ups so far this year, to help them move closer to realising their ambitions.

This is higher than the $8 million that Spring Seeds Capital, the investment arm of Spring Singapore, pumped into six firms last year.

The co-investment scheme under which Spring Singapore works with other partner investors to fund start-ups saw some $12 million coming from the co-investors and accredited angel investors under Spring Singapore's Business Angels Scheme (BAS).

Now, Spring Seeds says it plans to step up its investment focus in the technology and IP (intellectual property) intensive sectors. The move is in line with the rising number of deals inked in these sectors.

Said Spring Singapore: "In recent years, more of such deals have been seen and approved, in sectors such as clean tech, agri-tech, electronics and advanced materials."

For other nascent sectors, Spring Seeds recently launched a $40 million programme called the Biomedical Sciences Accelerator, which focuses on providing early-stage medical technology start-ups with funding given the long gestation periods seen in the sector.

Spring Singapore said that details on some of the early deals are expected early next year, along with plans on potential new accelerators that Spring Seeds is looking to set up.

"To this end, Spring Seeds will continue to reach out and strengthen our partnerships with experienced investors, be it individuals, corporations or funds, so as to better position itself and calibrate its funding support to address the needs of the evolving landscape," said Spring Singapore.

Spring Seeds has been partnering angel investors to help fund promising, early-stage firms. It accredited seven new business angel partners last year, bringing the total number of angel partners under the BAS to nine.

These investors include senior corporate managers and serial entrepreneurs, and represent a variety of investment interests - from semiconductor to engineering, education, and clean technology.

Since 2001, Spring Seeds has invested more than $70 million in close to 200 start-up companies in various sectors, catalysing another $90 million from private investors. Notable acquisitions within its portfolio in the last two years include Lightning Eliminator by Hitachi Systems and tenCube by McAfee.