Singapore’s incubator and accelerator system are certainly among the best ones in the world. It expands as we speak, and provides an array of possibilities. This is something you ought to know in detail if looking to start a business in this country.
In this post, we discuss all the best accelerators and incubators in Singapore to help aspiring entrepreneurs find what they need. Regardless of what business you’re into, you need a program that lets you:
- Work with experienced mentors
- Learn from VCs that already invested in this industry
- Participate under reasonable terms
Both accelerators and business incubators aim to mentor and support early-stage businesses. As such, they guide them through the entrepreneurship process. Despite these similarities, these two business development models differ in many ways.
Here are the main differences:
- Accelerators usually belong to an existing company or venture capital firms that fund them. Incubators, on the other hand, operate independently. However, certain incubators can be connected to venture funds and capital firms.
- Accelerators attempt to accelerate development and scale companies up. Alternatively, a startup incubator focuses on innovation and good business ideas. It is not rare for a startup incubator and an accelerator to work hand in hand to bring a business forward. In this scenario, incubators are preparing the ground for the accelerator.
- A startup incubator won’t typically put capital into the venture. Some of them, however, deliver valuable resources and demand an equity stake in the exchange. Accelerators are the ones that provide the seed investment, also in exchange for an ownership/profit share.
- An accelerator offers companies concrete timelines on how they are guiding the business. It shows entrepreneurs where the business will be after a certain time. A group of mentors take portfolio companies under their wings and help them avoid problems. Startup incubators don’t have a schedule, as they only play a role in the early stage of business development.
The best-known incubators in Singapore
As you saw, a startup incubator can help promising startups expedite their success and profitability.
A startup incubator won’t act as a corporate venture capital unit, but rather offer valuable resources. Some of those are mentorship, equipment, and office space. Selected startups will continue working with their startup incubators. Consequently, they will build a collaborative network of potential funding sources.
Startup incubators focus foremost on early-stage startups and help them launch their business off the ground. Quite often, they are involved in product development. It means that they also assist early-stage founders to become more successful.
Below, we will discuss the 7 top business incubators in Singapore:
BLOCK71 is a very well-known NUS Enterprise initiative for early-stage founders. Growth-stage startups rely on NUS for strategic partnerships. Some of these partnerships include corporations, venture capital firms, and government agencies.
BLOCK71 offers a 4-week Global Startup Runaway Program for entrepreneurs to gain all necessary skills. This program covers:
- All know-how for building a tech startup
- Effective localizing and scaling for the business to tackle its regional markets
- Asia-wide connections with top corporations and investment funds
Nope, the name is not a coincidence! These startup incubators are connected to PayPal’s Singapore Technology Center in Suntec City. They use their knowledge to help fintech startups and passionate entrepreneurs in Asia.
Their 9-month program offers tailored learning and mentorship for technology companies. Support is provided directly by PayPal experts and executives, as well as external advisors and their CV connections. They won’t fund your business model, but will for sure connect you to their funding network and offer innovative solutions.
CRIB is a very social-oriented acceleration program for women entrepreneurs. They offer services such as business matching, networking, and assistance for professional development.
The CRIB team with be with you throughout the entire entrepreneurial journey. The program focuses on all stages of business development from creation to customer retention.
Unlike an accelerator focused entirely on a business, CRIB incubators focus on the person behind it. They help build a successful and fulfilling career and carve the path to an improved work-life balance.
They have several structured programs in place to assist the next generation of entrepreneurs:
- CRIB SOCIETY – Thanks to CRIB SOCIETY, you can build a better professional network and join a community of women entrepreneurs.
- CRIB MATCH – This program helps find venture partners who provide seed funding in Southeast Asia.
- CRIB EQUIP – At this stage, you get the skills and the knowledge to develop yourself professionally.
This technology incubation scheme was developed by tech startups. A group of entrepreneurs joined what is now a huge global community, and will be there for you throughout the growth stage.
These are the benefits you’d get:
- Their MENTOR PLATFORM: this platform lets you connect to successful startup founders and ask questions. The experienced mentors will help you build your business and share their experiences with you.
- INVESTORS: You keep in touch with tech investors and can have selected companies invest in your idea too. Currently, there are more than 50 investors in the community looking for investment opportunities.
- EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS: The community comes with all sorts of networking opportunities. You can attend events, workshops, and seminars. You will learn from the best on multiple technology-related topics, such as product development or marketing. You even get to learn how to build a sustainable growth strategy, raise money, or deal with legal issues. Not that many global networks cover all these topics.
Similarly, Founders Nation supports entrepreneurs at the early stages of their business. They focus foremost on technology companies looking for co-founders. In essence, they offer deep technology companies two possibilities. One is to share ownership with them, and the other is to find a different matching founder. They also do investments, foremost in next-generation technology and innovation.
You can join the platform as an established founder with an idea, or a co-founder looking to be inspired. It has never been easier to connect with people who think similarly!
Last but not least, Founders Nation provides financial and legal advice to ensure your business will be successful.
500 Ignition Singapore also brings aspiring entrepreneurs under one roof. Thanks to the platform, they can exchange ideas and find the perfect players for their dynamic teams.
Assistance is organized around a 3-month program open to all entrepreneurs. You can join even if you have no business experience at all, and look for people with complementary knowledge. The focus is once again on technology companies. Ignition also looks into maritime industry solutions and other businesses.
ZILHive is a multi-phase blockchain incubator for all ambitious individuals looking to join the tech space. Thanks to this startup incubator, you can get in touch with global leaders and build a top-performing team. It works quite simply: join the platform, present your business idea, and find your ideal co-founder.
The multi-phase incubator offers a 14-week intensive training for local startups. It also welcomes passionate developers involved in blockchain technology. After the program, teams can build Zilliqa blockchains and understand how to work with them. ZILHive also comes with a large community of open-minded entrepreneurs who help each other.
The Best Accelerators in Singapore
Next to an incubator program, early-stage companies also need startup accelerators. Nevertheless, accelerators come into play only once the startup is launched and already has some traction. Their role is to speed up the growth of the business.
Below are Singapore’s leading startup accelerator programs:
Antler is located in Singapore but is very well-known around the world. The venture capital business supports innovative and unique tech businesses. It has many tools to help them turn into a leading enterprise company.
Antler recruits entrepreneurs that are still building a minimum viable product. It offers multiple types of support, for instance finding a co-founder or creating a business plan. Thanks to them, all aspiring entrepreneurs can fulfill their dream and contribute to the global economy.
In a fashion similar to startup incubators, Founder Institute helps businesses from the very beginning. It provides access to a global network of expert mentors, seed funding, and lifetime support. They accept applications from solo entrepreneurs as well as duos and small teams.
The Founder Institute will offer you a 15-week program where you can develop your idea and find co-founders and team members. They invest foremost in the Sector Agnostic.
Everyone in the accelerator community is familiar with 500 Startups. The global network has helped aspiring entrepreneurs ever since 2010. So far, it can brag with 2,500+ successful businesses in its scope. At least 120 of these companies have surpassed $100 million in net worth.
500 Startups operate in even 15 countries around the world. In Singapore, they offer the 12-week ‘Ignition’ program for acceleration.
Accelerating Asia is a venture capital fund operating in Southeast Asian pre-series A firms. In parallel, the fund acts as a startup incubator and an accelerator.
Their 100-day program will provide access to:
- Funding up to $250,000
- Networking and events with potential investors
Entrepreneur First has a lot of similarities with Antler. They specialize in helping tech founders find teams and co-founders and only then raise funds for their ideas.
Their program lasts 6 weeks and ends with a free stipend for the living expenses of each founder on the platform. Meantime, they wrap up your ideas, test the sanity of the business, and ensure you get funds against an equity stake.
Despite their interest in machine learning, EF still supports startups in diverse industries.
ICE71 was created by Singapore-based corporate VC Singtel Innov8. It is also supported by the National University of Singapore. The accelerator involves companies in 3-months acceleration programs related to cyber-security. Some of the topics covered are Network Security, Information Technology, and Cloud Security.
ICE71 supports the national research foundation to improve Singapore’s cyber-security ecosystem. They help eliminate rapidly increasing cybersecurity risks in the region.
HyperX is a three-phase hackathon-to-accelerator platform for innovators. Startup founders get support throughout their entire journey, from creation to late-stage solutions. The platform was co-developed by Temasek and Startup X, prominent Singapore investment companies.
These are the three phases of the program:
- HyperHack: Access to 3 days of global hackathon events and brainstorming. These events connect the best thinkers worldwide. They ideate, design, hack and develop solutions that improve our future. Not that many acceleration programs have a comparable outreach.
- HyperSpark: This is the pre-accelerator part of the program. Within 10 weeks, entrepreneurs and other startup founders get expert help for their prototypes. The platform mentors lead participants to a successful market launch.
- HyperScale: StartupX and Temasek help entrepreneurs scale their innovations and raise seed capital. This part of the accelerator program also assists with asset management.
Iterative is among the startup accelerators that focus solely on Southeast Asia. Their 12-week program is limited to 8-12 carefully selected startups. All participating startups gain access to a conducive learning environment, as well as seed funding up to $150,000. The Iterative team prepares them for Demo Day, where they pitch their ideas to prospective investors.
The Muru-D accelerator also supports tech startups and helps build deep technology companies. The accelerator program is offered by Telstra. Within 6 months, startups get support with everything they need. They are guided from inception to commercialization.
Muru-D has helped more than 140 startups find their way to success. 27 of these companies are operating in Singapore. The startups receive up to 40K SGD in exchange for a 6% equity share.
GROW is located in Singapore, but has a global reach. The accelerator program supports foremost food tech and agritech businesses. They intervene both in an early and a later stage of their development. Startups get mentorship and expert advice throughout the whole value chain.
Similar to Muru-D, GROW offers a 6-month learning program. During this program, entrepreneurs attend classes and gain access to mentors and investors. The investment goes up to $200K.
These, of course, are not all accelerators and incubators in Singapore to keep in the loop. Early-stage startups should also consider some of the following programs:
- SEA Founders
- F10 Global Acceleration
- ICE71 Scale
- Ampersand Accelerator
- GROW Impact Accelerator
- F10 Acceleration Program
Do you need startup incubators or accelerators?
The choice is yours! The best fit for your business will depend on the stage your startup is at. Early-stage startups will more likely benefit from an incubator. Experienced and post-traction firms, on the contrary, need an accelerator.
Before you make the final decision, these are things to consider:
- The state of your product: First of all, determine the stage of the business. Depending on your current needs, you can opt for an incubator or an accelerator.
- The cost of the program: Most incubators and accelerators help in developing competencies, and that is never free. They may request a prepayment or an equity share so you participate in their program. Before you make a choice and join an accelerator program, ask for a clear overview of the costs.
- Availability of free alternatives: Remember that there are completely free startup support programs. They may not offer end-to-end support, but you can still hire them for networking events or office space. These are very good alternatives for young businesses that can’t afford any expenses, however small. Yet, they get a unique chance to work with expert advisors and partners.
- Need for funding: Access to funding is the main difference between incubators and accelerators. Incubator programs can for sure bring value to any startup, but they don’t provide capital investment. Accelerators, on the other hand, help startups reach investors and get the funding they need. Some accelerators are venture capital firms themselves.
Summing up, make sure you choose a program that meets your actual needs and leave the benefits aside for a moment. When making a decision, also consider whether your business meets the specific criteria of the program you selected.
FAQ about Singapore incubators
What is a Singapore incubator?
An incubator in Singapore is a program that aids entrepreneurs in their infancy. The program provides tools and services to aid entrepreneurs in turning their concepts into profitable ventures.
Together with other things, the incubator offers advice on marketing, business strategy, and funding. Singapore offers a thriving incubator ecosystem with a wide range of opportunities for companies.
How do Singapore incubators support startups?
Singapore incubators aid entrepreneurs by offering them tools and services to expand their companies. Mentorship, office space, money, legal and accounting services, and access to networks and collaborations are a few examples of these resources.
Incubators may also provide workshops and training courses to assist business owners in developing the knowledge and skills necessary for their operations.
What types of startups are suitable for Singapore incubators?
Startups in a variety of areas, including technology, healthcare, and finance, might benefit from incubators in Singapore. Startups are typically suitable candidates for incubation if they have a scalable business plan, a solid team, and a clear market potential.
Startups that are creating novel solutions or utilizing cutting-edge technology are also welcome at Singapore incubators.
What are the benefits of joining a Singapore incubator?
Access to tools and services that might aid companies in developing and succeeding is one of the advantages of participating in a Singapore incubator.
These advantages may include access to possible investors, funding, office space, mentoring, and networking possibilities. Additionally, incubators provide a friendly setting where companies can network with other business people and get advice from knowledgeable mentors.
How do I apply to join a Singapore incubator?
Startups often have to submit an application that contains details about their company, team, and market potential in order to be considered for membership in a Singapore incubator.
A pitch deck, financial estimates, and other supporting materials can also be needed for the application. Interviews and due diligence may be part of the selection process, and admission to the program is typically tough.
What is the success rate of startups in Singapore incubators?
The sector, startup stage, and merit of the business idea are only a few of the variables that affect the success rate of businesses in Singapore incubators.
The chances of success are often better for firms that join reputed incubators than for those that do not. Startups can boost their chances of success by gaining access to significant resources, mentorship, and networks through incubators.
What kind of resources do Singapore incubators provide?
Singapore incubators offer companies a range of tools, including guidance, access to networks, finance, office space, and legal and accountancy services.
Also, some incubators provide events, workshops, and training courses to assist entrepreneurs in expanding their skill sets. Depending on the program and the requirements of the businesses, each incubator may offer a different set of unique resources.
What are the fees and costs associated with joining a Singapore incubator?
Depending on the program, different Singapore incubators have different fees and charges connected with participation. As payment for their services and resources, some incubators may levy a fee or require startup equity.
Nonetheless, a large number of incubators in Singapore are financed by the government and do not impose fees or require new companies to give up equity. When submitting an application to join any program, it is crucial to read the terms and conditions.
What is the duration of a typical incubator program in Singapore?
The average incubator program in Singapore lasts between six months and two years, though this might vary. While some incubators provide longer programs that might run up to three years, others offer shorter programs that can last just weeks, like boot camps.
The startup’s stage, the program’s objectives, and the resources and services offered by the incubator may all affect how long the program lasts.
How does a Singapore incubator differ from other startup support programs in Singapore?
Incubators in Singapore are distinct from other startup support programs there, such as accelerators and co-working areas, in a number of ways.
Incubators often provide more thorough assistance to entrepreneurs and concentrate on aiding in the early phases of business development. On the other side, accelerators frequently concentrate on growing already-established enterprises.
Office space and some resources are offered by co-working spaces, but they do not offer the same level of mentoring and direction as incubators. Incubators may also provide funding, which co-working spaces do not frequently do.
Final thoughts on these Singapore incubators
Incubators and accelerators are very important for startups. They help them launch their business and develop in the right direction. From idea to accomplishment, these programs guide entrepreneurs to success.
If you want to start your own tech business, research the options you have and make a smart decision. Singapore has quite a rich ecosystem when it comes to such programs, and the decision may not be simple. Stick to a program that is good for your venture, and which brings the most value in the long run.
Keep in mind that some of these programs are expensive, and you may have to give up an equity stake to participate. We hope that our post gave you an idea of where to start looking.
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