On 5 March, NUS Enterprise and Singtel Innov8 jointly launchedSingapore’s first integrated regional cybersecurity hub to kick-start and support early stage and growing start-ups, entrepreneurs and academics worldwide.
NUS Enterprise is the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore, while Singtel Innov8 is a corporate venture capital fund with its own set of decision-making, approval and funding processes and a fund size of US$250 million.
The Innovation Cyber Security Ecosystem at Block 71 (ICE71) aims to enhance Singapore’s cybersecurity network ICE71 and create a strong regional cybersecurity ecosystem with links to the global industry.
It intends to attract and develop capabilities and new technologies. The initiative will provide support services such as access to working space, funding, domain experts as well as networking events.
Start-ups at ICE71 will also have access to enterprise grade cybersecurity resources enabling them to develop and test proof-of-concept solutions in a virtual environment.
ICE71 will open in April at Block 71 Ayer Rajah Crescent where BLOCK71 Singapore is also located.
ICE71 will offer three different startup programmes. ICE71 Inspire is a one-week programme developed for individuals from academia and industry, to test their theories and ideas, qualify feasibility and commercial viability, and develop their entrepreneurial skills. The programme is a platform to develop workable business models. It is run by CyLon, a leading European accelerator.
There is a three-month accelerator programme for early-stage cybersecurity start-ups. During this programme, start-ups will participate in a curriculum run by CyLon to sharpen their company’s value proposition, go-to-market strategy, commercial model and business strategy. Participants will receive capital funding and have access to a co-working space within ICE71.
The third programme, called ICE Scale, is designed to help international and local start-ups grow their business within the Asia Pacific region. Under this programme, participants will take up residence in ICE71, establishing their Asia Pacific operations.
An initiative by NUS Enterprise with strategic partners, BLOCK71 Singapore offers a thriving ecosystem for the start-up community, providing them with mentorship and growth opportunities both locally and overseas.
ICE71 is supported by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Info-communications Media Development Authority.
Speaking at the Committee of Supply Debate, Singapore Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim talked about ICE71 as an example of an initiative to grow a strong cybersecurity ecosystem in Singapore.
“As a founding partner of ICE71, NUS is excited to help expand the cybersecurity ecosystem. We have a vibrant community comprising some of the country’s top cybersecurity expertise at the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory, the Singapore Cybersecurity Consortium, and the NUS-Singtel Cyber Security Research and Development Laboratory. We are pleased that ICE71 will be part of this thriving network,” said Dr Lily Chan, CEO of NUS Enterprise.
“We see the new cybersecurity track in the Lean LaunchPad Singaporeprogramme to be launched by NUS Enterprise as a move to strengthen the University’s ability to further nurture home-grown competencies and start-ups in the cybersecurity space.”
The Lean LaunchPad Singapore programme, piloted by NUS Enterprise as the first entrepreneurial education programme for researchers, helps research scientists and engineers turn their inventions into commercially viable products and feasible business ventures.
Mr Edgar Hardless, CEO of Singtel Innov8 said that the launch of ICE71 highlights the urgency of developing innovative solutions to address the rapid increase in the frequency, scale and sophistication of cybersecurity threats.
“Through ICE71, we aim to nurture and groom suitable Singaporean and foreign cybersecurity start-ups to help bring their ideas to life. With our combined resources, we can help these start-ups fine-tune and market their cybersecurity solutions globally,” he added.