WA startups and scaleups targeting Singapore money

Brandon How

An ongoing Western Australian series connecting local scale-ups to investors in Singapore and other ASEAN countries runs its second event on Wednesday, with firms able to apply for an upcoming pitch opportunity in Singapore.

The final group will be focused, comprised of companies with strong growth strategies and investment propositions. However, the participating Singaporean funding bodies have yet to be announced. The event runs in-person and online on the evening of May 4.

Following the discussion on the funding landscape in Singapore, local firms will be invited to express interest in a Pitch for Connections event held in Singapore later this year.

Singapore is Western Australia’s fifth largest trading partner

The event, which is being opened by WA’s Deputy Premier Roger Cook, is a collaboration between the Singapore Chamber of Commerce WA (SCCWA), Westpac, WA law firm Steinepreis Paganin, Singapore based NTUitive and angel investing community Perth Angels.

NTUitive is the innovation and enterprise company based at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. Although not directly supported by the Australian or Singaporean governments, the SCCWA has been liasing with both.

In addition to a four-person panel, there are also two other speakers at the event. First is NTUitive chief executive David Toh who will discuss how to receive various forms of funding as well as academic-industry collaboration. Second, is head of investor relations and investment operations at venture capital (VC) firm Reinventure Group Liya Dashkinsa, who will discuss what VC firms are looking for.

Perth Angels co-founder Greg Riebe, who is speaking on the panel, said the aim of the collaboration is to keep high-growth companies and industries in Western Australia while connecting them to larger international markets.

“What we’re trying to achieve here is to extend the investment capacity for investing in scaleups developed in WA. We recognise that there’s a finite amount of capacity here in WA, but how can we actually bring Singapore into that?” Mr Riebe asked.

“We sit within the same timezone, and it probably takes just as much time to fly to Singapore it does to fly to Sydney. There is also quite a strong historical relationship between Singapore and Western Australia.”

Mr Riebe also highlighted the mining, engineering, and professional services sectors as evidence of the broad opportunities for exports from the state.

Perth Angels manager Oliver Bazzani added that this event will help Western Australian scaleups expand their opportunities for investment.

“For Australian startups, the typical growth story is to go to the US, and there are huge growth opportunities there as well as huge amounts of funding. Part of what Singapore Connect is looking to open up, in the plus eight time zone, is a whole world of growth opportunities.”

The first edition in the series was held in January 2022 and focused on highlighting the market opportunities and challenges in Perth and Singapore. This was opened by WA’s Minister for Innovation Stephen Dawson.

Singapore is Western Australia’s fifth largest trading partner with annual bilateral trade valued at $10.3 billion, or 4 per cent of the state’s GDP. According to the SCCWA, as of 2015 there were more than 1,300 Australian companies that have Singaporean operations. WA Deputy Premier Roger Cook completed a trade mission to Singapore last month.

In June 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison signed a $30 million deal with his Singaporean counterpart to support adoption of low emissions fuels and emission reduction technologies for ships.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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