Amidst declining print business, SPH launches media startup accelerator with Plug & Play

Singapore's leading print media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is getting more deeply involved in the startup space, the company has announced, with a new accelerator programme aimed at media and technology startups. SPH is partnering with Singapore's Infocomm Investments and Silicon Valley's Plug & Play accelerator for the SPH Plug & Play programme.

The initiative will assist up to ten startups per run from various media fields, such as news and content distribution, advertising technology, e-commerce, and online marketplaces, with an investment of S$30,000 (US$22,290) for each startup.

Like with any accelerator worth its salt, SPH Plug & Play will provide the selected startups with access to mentorship from both venture capitalists and media experts, networking opportunities through SPH's trove of contacts, and training and resources from the media organisation. The startups will be working from Infocomm's BASH work space at Singapore's Blk 79.

The SPH Plug & Play programme will last for ten weeks, after which the participating startups will be called upon to present their progress to investors and will have the opportunity to continue developing their ideas at BASH for a time. The programme is expected to commence before the middle of this year and startups are already encouraged to apply online.

SPH has seen its business in the print sector decline for two straight years now, as annual income from newspapers and magazines dropped 10 per cent from 2012 to 2014. Last October, the company announced a new media fund for Singapore-based and regional media enterprises; a move clearly intended to give the company an out from the declining print business. Initiatives such as the Trezo mobile app (an online marketplace similar to Carousell) and SPH Plug & Play seem like moves toward that direction, inviting new ideas and talent to the ailing giant