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IMDA’s accreditation programme for Singapore-based tech product companies to expand its scope

Photo credit: IMDA (From IMDA's Twitter)

From 3 November 2017, the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Accreditation@IMDA programme will be re-branded as “Accreditation@SG Digital (Accreditation@SGD)” to enable accredited companies to be better recognised overseas through a Singapore branding.

Accreditation@IMDA was launched in July 2014 to help promising Singapore-based tech product companies to win projects, grow and compete in the global market. Being accredited opens up more opportunities for their products and solutions to be showcased and commercialised. For buyers from the Government and large enterprises, the accreditation process provides an independent third-party evaluation of the companies’ claimed product core functionalities and ability to deliver.

As of end October 2017, 23 companies had been accredited in areas such as video analytics, data analytics, robotics and energy management. More companies are currently undergoing the evaluation process. Within three years, the Accreditation@IMDA programme has created a pipeline of over $80m for its accredited companies, comprising over 600 government project opportunities from over 80 agencies, of which over 120 projects have been won to-date. Fifteen accredited companies had secured $68 million in new growth capital during or after accreditation. Three accredited companies had successful exits through acquisitions (Deep Identity and Kai Square) and IPO (Anacle).

To support the digital economy strategy and industry transformation, the programme will expand its scope by:

Expanding the pool of accredited companies

IMDA aims to expand the pool of accredited companies beyond start-ups and young SMEs to include later stage SMEs and deep technology foreign companies.

The programme has garnered growing interest from local and foreign companies. The programme will expand to accredit later stage SMEs that are pivoting to leverage disruptive technologies to drive growth.

IMDA is working with the Economic Development Board (EDB) to anchor best in class foreign high-tech companies to complement Singapore’s local enterprises and ecosystem. By congregating a critical mass of high growth tech product companies in Singapore, IMDA expect more global investors and high tech talent to be attracted to Singapore’s ecosystem, creating synergies and positive spinoff.

Curate a supply of tech companies in the 4 frontier technologies

Under the Infocomm Media Industry Transformation Map (ICM ITM) released today by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), a key thrust area is to invest and build capabilities in four frontier technologies, namely Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics; Cybersecurity; Immersive Media and Internet of Things (IoT). (Dr. Ibrahim outlined the four frontier technology focus areas in his speech at the Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) opening ceremony in May this year). Accreditation@SGD will work with EDB, SG Innovate and other industry accelerators to expand the pipeline and pool of promising high growth tech companies in these 4 tech pillars.  

Accreditation@SGD will work with various agencies and enterprises to supply relevant accredited companies to support the implementation of their Industry Transformation Maps.

Opportunities will be created to pitch and meaningfully engage key stakeholders through platforms such as CIO forums, focused workshops and events. To-date, accredited companies have been enabled to reach out to more than 250 key decision makers in more than 100 government agencies and enterprises. Strategic partnerships are also forged with leading enterprises in various verticals sectors to create recurring engagement and ideation platforms for accredited companies to support their digital transformation.

Customised account management and ecosystem support

Accreditation@SGD provides customised and sustained assistance, in areas such as technical advisory, financial modelling, facilitating fund raising, pitch coaching and business advisory. This is to help companies at the initial period where the growth challenges are the highest, i.e. where they have to build track records, raise funds and take steps to eventually break out of the attrition zone.

IMDA uses a data-driven approach to identify potential red flags in companies’ growth journey through tracking their pipeline, sales conversion, project delivery and cashflow, as well as feedback from potential buyers on their products. This approach provides IMDA with information to work with the companies on making nimble pivots in areas that they need to address, such as product positioning, productisation to create new business opportunities or business model.

Beyond that, IMDA is working with various partners to further accredited companies’ growth, including: 1) Enterprise partners (e.g. DBS, UOB, OCBC, Great Eastern) for internationalisation; 2) Go-to-Market partners (e.g. S&I, Crimson Logic, Deloitte) for access to large local/global projects; 3) Venture capital (VC) firms (e.g. Heliconia, GGVC, SPH Ventures, ST Engineering Ventures) for funding; and 4) Other financial/consulting / legal partners (e.g. SGX, Invoice Interchange, KPMG, Deloitte, Duan Morris) to support their growth / working capital, consultation and legal needs.

The accreditation evaluation performed by Accreditation@SGD is often used by the VC partners to complement their due diligence. We proactively work with accredited companies to identify the right profile of VC partners to shorten the duration and increase the success of their fund raising.

Three leading local banks (DBS, OCBC Bank and UOB) came on board in May 2017, to provide accredited companies with increased access to innovative projects to build their track record in the banking sector.

To enable accredited companies to leverage capital markets for expansion, Accreditation@SGD and SGX signed an MOI in May 2017, to create a streamlined pathway where accredited companies can tap on IPO sponsors, law and audit firms (collectively, “market professionals”) in their IPO journey which includes facilitating pre-IPO funding, advising them on listing processes and preparing them for IPO listing.

Enabling commercialisation of R&D through accredited companies

IMDA will also be working with GovTech, A*STAR’s I2R (Institute for Infocomm Research) and IHLs (Institutes of Higher Learning) to explore commercialisation of R&D through IMDA’s portfolio of accredited companies to support their product development roadmap.

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