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.