Speech by ACE Chairman James Tan At Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Signing Ceremony Between ACE and IES-INCA

Mr Matthias Yao, Former Senior Minister of State


Mr Teo Ser Luck, Former Minister of State and ACE Patron


Er Chong Kee Sen, Chairman, IES Incubator and Accelerator (IES-INCA)


Ladies and Gentlemen


1            A very good afternoon to all of you.


2            Today, we celebrate yet another milestone for ACE as we officialise our partnership with The Institution of Engineers, Singapore’s Incubator and Accelerator (IES-INCA) through this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). IES-INCA is the technology venture incubation arm of the IES. We will work with INCA to develop the Deep Tech sector in Singapore’s startup ecosystem.


3            Enabled by the strong innovation ecosystem in Singapore, the deep tech market is experiencing an “explosion” of startup activity and investor interest. Investments in startups grew by more 45 per cent per annum between 2017 and last year, reaching S$14.7 billion in 2021. And venture funding within the first half of this year alone has reached S$8.8 billion, up 54 per cent compared to the same period in 2021.  


4            Amid the rapid proliferation of technology and startups, deep tech startups differentiate themselves from the rest by building solutions that are based on scientific discovery or meaningful engineering innovation. One key area that we are going to look very closely at with INCA is the commercialisation of deep tech products and solutions. We want to help more startups to bring their products to the market, and importantly, build their product-market fit, for them to be successful.


5            Singapore has adopted a very forward-looking approach to build our startup ecosystem, supported very much by the vision of our former Patron, MOS Teo. Our focus on education, innovation and research and development (R&D) have enhanced Singapore’s international standing for innovation and startup development. You may be pleased to know that we were ranked the top Asian country in Startup Blink’s Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2022, and the top five cities in Asia in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022 by Startup Genome.


6            As the startup ecosystems around us in Southeast Asia mature, more deep tech startups will be able to leverage the region’s tech-savvy population, robust investment landscape and relevant solutions. Southeast Asia countries have been experiencing sturdy growth post COVID-19, and this clearly reflects the nimbleness of the emerging middle class.


7            ACE and INCA are committed to growing the deep tech sector. Together, we will support the growth of companies in the deep tech sector. We will help them to scale up and expand into the regional markets with partners that are in the midst of us today such as Enterprise Singapore, IMDA and JTC. We will mobilise both our networks of technopreneurs, engineers, mentors, investors and overseas partners for collaborative learning, networking, investment, and internationalisation opportunities.


8            This partnership is built on close connections between IES, IES-INCA, and ACE, and their shared commitment and belief that support for deep tech startups can go a long way towards building a strong ecosystem for deep tech entrepreneurs. For instance, it was the culmination of the joint efforts from MOS Teo, the entire ACE team, and Spring Singapore that galvanised the entire community to build BLOCK71 and the LaunchPad that we see today.


9            ACE will continue to facilitate learning and growth opportunities for our startups and serve as a strong and effective voice for the Singapore startup ecosystem. May our partnership with INCA flourish and bring about immense success for the ecosystem.


10          Thank you.