DBS commits S$10m to Singapore’s startup ecosystem

By dealstreetAsia,

Southeast Asia’s leading lender DBS Friday committed S$10 million ($7.1 million) for Singapore’s startup ecosystem over the next five years, and a bulk of this amount is slated to go into programmes run by the bank such as its partnerships with local accelerators and incubators.

One such initiative that is DBS HotSpot, a pre-accelerator programme created by the bank, where very early stage startups can develop their ideas, through a S$25,000 entrepreneur award, along with workspace, and access to industry mentors, the company highlighted in a statement today.

The first batch from this three-month programme is set to demonstrate their ideas to investors and industry veterans today, even as DBS said it was working towards identifying potential startups for the second intake.

The key differentiators here, when compared to other industry models is that, DBS HotSpot does not require the startup to have an existing prototype or operating business, and the bank does not take an equity stake from the participating teams.

According to Neal Cross, Chief Innovation Officer, DBS Bank: ““Singapore is becoming a thriving startup ecosystem and with our roots as the Development Bank of Singapore, we are keen to help grow the community. For many aspiring entrepreneurs, taking that initial plunge, leaving their stable jobs and following their startup dreams can be a daunting process. The DBS HotSpot is designed to support local startups in the very early stages of testing their ideas and getting them off the ground. Subsequently, we will continue to support them through later stage accelerators and industry programmes.”

From DBS HotSpot’s first batch, the startups worked on ideas spanning social innovation to fintech, and these include:

  • Reducing poverty in Vietnam through bike production – BambooBike
  • Using gamification to motivate people to run – Mirri
  • Enabling consumers to shop online collectively and enjoy greater bargains – BeMex
  • Helping migrant workers remit funds home quickly – Nickel
  • Enabling SMEs to auction unpaid invoices for quick cash – InvoiceInterchange

Both Nickel and InvoiceInterchange have been accepted to Startupbootcamp FinTech FastTrack, the bank said in a statement.

Earlier thus year, DBS had announced that it had partnered with Hong Kong’s NESTto establish a new accelerator, called DBS Accelerator.

Prior to that, it had launched a programme to finance tech start-ups. The dedicated venture debt solution offers tech startups (often at the growth stage of their business life cycles) an option tap funds with minimum equity dilution.Venture debt can be deployed for working capital, fixed assets acquisition and project financing, and for various possibilities.