SG Digest: Grab Ventures Velocity unveils first batch; IMDA backs blockchain adoption

The Grab app on an iPhone. Photo: Bloomberg

Grab has unveiled its first batch of five startups from its accelerator programme while IMDA has decided to provide seed funding to boost blockchain adoption among Singapore enterprises.

Grab unveils first batch of startups under accelerator programme 

Grab has unveiled the first batch of startups from its accelerator programme, Grab Ventures Velocity.

The five startups are: Helpling, an online platform for home services; Tueetor, that connects educators and students; BookMyShow, an online ticketing portal for cinemas, events and karaoke; Sejasa, a marketplace for home improvement services; and Minutes, an online salon booking service.

According to Chris Yeo, Head, Grab Ventures, these five startups were shortlisted from a pipeline of 500 applications. About 50 per cent of them were from Indonesia and Singapore while 30 per cent were from the rest of Southeast Asia, and the remaining 20 per cent from the rest of the world.

All five startups have crossed the first phase of the Grab Ventures Velocity programme, where their services are on live widgets on Grab’s app. The startups will work towards a final pitch to Grab’s senior management team and potential venture capital partners in January.

Grab Ventures said the decision to invest in these startups will be made on a case-by-case basis. Yeo added that Grab Ventures will invest in companies that share similar values, exhibit strong leadership and proven growth traction.

Grab launched its venture arm and accelerator programme in June as part of its strategy to form strategic investments to better scale across the region. Grab Ventures has a market focus on Singapore and Indonesia, and previously revealed plans to make 10 investments in the next two years.

In August, Grab said it will invest $250 million in Indonesian startups, falling under its “Grab 4 Indonesia” 2020 Master Plan that pledges to support the country’s goal to be the largest Southeast Asian digital economy by 2020.

IMDA to provide seed funding to boost blockchain adoption

Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is setting aside seed funding for industry players to develop blockchain platforms. The move is seen to boost adoption of the emerging technology in Singapore.

According to an official statement, the platform must include guides for enterprises on blockchain adoption. It should also include a directory listing of the blockchain community in Singapore, and connect with global blockchain communities such as China and Silicon Valley.

The IMDA said that the nascent state of blockchain and the lack of large-scale success cases has hampered its adoption. It added that end-user companies lack established business models on how to collaborate using blockchain.

IMDA also plans to launch a Blockchain challenge inviting proposals that offer solutions to business challenges using the technology. The proposals may target IMDA, M1, MyRepublic or Singtel as programme owners for their submissions.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.