Block 71 San Francisco bridges S'pore-US start-ups

10 January 2015 | Entrepreneurship
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Block 71 San Francisco will give a leg up to Singapore start-ups exploring opportunities in the US

Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), NUS Enterprise and SingTel Innov8 have jointly set up Block 71 San Francisco, a US-based co-working space to foster ties between start-up ecosystems in Singapore and the US.

Singapore tech firms keen to explore business prospects in the US can tap the resources of this facility to better understand the market, set up business and expand their network into the tech community.

Block 71 San Francisco will also provide a platform for US-based entrepreneurs, companies and investors to learn about Singapore and Southeast Asian (SEA) markets. Available to companies supported by IIPL, NUS Enterprise and SingTel Innov8, it offers space, brainstorming rooms and a gathering area for community events. NUS Enterprise will manage the co-working space, while the three parties will organise regular community events for Singapore and US-based tech companies, professionals, students and investors. IIPL and SingTel Innov8 have offices within the facility to support Singapore-based tech start-ups.

This latest space in San Francisco builds upon the success of Blk71 in Singapore. Established in 2011, Blk71 in Singapore has morphed from an old industrial estate into a thriving hub for high-growth, innovation-driven technology start-ups in the region. NUS Enterprise, SingTel Innov8 and the Singapore Media Development Authority played key roles in this transformation by putting in place a strategic incubation programme. IIPL is an active investor and strong advocate of the Blk71 community.

Block 71 San Francisco is located within the South of Market area, which is a dynamic, up-and-coming area for the technology start-up community, said Dr Lily Chan, CEO of NUS Enterprise. The location houses major software and tech firms as well as a strong investor and accelerator community that provides mentoring to help shape start-ups. Dr Chan is upbeat that the joint venture will extend Singapore's entrepreneurship community into the San Francisco Bay Area, and hopes to see more of such public-private-institute of higher learning collaborations in the future.

Dr Alex Lin, Head of IIPL added: "The set-up of Block 71 San Francisco strengthens our role as an ecosystem builder to help local innovation-driven tech start-ups scale fast and tackle important global challenges. He acknowledged the timely collaboration as Singapore is placing increasing emphasis on growing a culture and mindset of experimentation.

SingTel Innov8 CEO Mr Edgar Hardless also noted that there has been a steady increase in US-based companies and venture funds looking to access the SEA market, even while SEA-based start-ups and venture funds are looking towards Silicon Valley.  

Interested start-ups can contact enterprise@nus.edu.sg.

For related media coverage, read Singapore start-up incubator sets up US hub and Start-up success for students with gumption.