MPA launches new major Singapore startup investment

View of tranquil sea from Pasir Panjang, Singapore, facing Pulau Bukom. The story of Pulau Bukom and the petroleum trade started in 1891as a base for the import and distribution of kerosene from Russia. More popularly known as “Freshwater Island” then, Bukom was a suitable alternative because it not only had a deep and sheltered harbour, but its proximity to the mainland allowed better facilitation of the local distribution of kerosene. Pasir Panjang is an area located at the southern part of Singapore. Kent Ridge Park is a topographical feature which runs adjacent to Pasir Panjang.

The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has supported an initiative by SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore (ESG), to create a fund worth approximately $36 million to invest in maritime startups.

According to a statement, the initiative has seen SEEDS Capital strike deals with six co-investment partners to contribute. These companies are Innoport, KSL Maritime Ventures, PSA unboXed, Rainmaking, ShipsFocusQuest Ventures and TecPier.

The objective is to drive growth, innovation and collaboration in the maritime sector and “enhance the resilience of key economic pillars, such as the logistics, manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors”, according to MPA.

It is believed that more than 50 promising Singapore-based startups are expected to benefit from the joint investments.

Since the start of 2020, four virtual sessions have been held profiling Singapore based startups to 240 investors and corporates in Southeast Asia, China and Europe, facilitating over 120 unique connections.

SEEDS Capital and the appointed partners will invest in early stage maritime technology startups to develop innovative and sustainable solutions that improve operational efficiency and safety across the different segments of the maritime sector.

The partners will provide hands-on assistance in helping early-stage startups to fast-track commercialisation, with mentoring and connection to potential clients through their networks.

Tan Beng Tee, MPA’s Assistant Chief Executive (Development) said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many business operations and global supply chains.

“Maritime technology startups will play an important role in accelerating digitalisation and innovation efforts to prepare the maritime industry for a new normal. The combined resources of the six co-investment partners will help catalyse these efforts.”  

Ted Tan, Chairman of SEEDS Capital and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore added: “As a global hub for trade and connectivity, we have continually leveraged technology and innovation to develop and facilitate efficient, resilient and secured trade flows.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to accelerate the transformation of our industries. We look forward to working closely with our six co-investment partners to harness their expertise and networks to further strengthen Singapore’s innovation and startup ecosystem.”

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