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Winners of Smart Port Challenge 2020 Bring Tech Innovation to Maritime

17 Nov, 2020

At the grand final held today, three promising start-ups were named winners to the Smart Port Challenge (SPC) 2020. These winners were announced by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs. Today’s grand final saw eight shortlisted start-ups pitching their proposal to a panel of judges.

The first, second and third place winners were BeeX, FUELSAVE and Vulcan AI. Judged on their proposed solution, business model, market opportunity, impact to the maritime industry and overall team capability, they each walked away with cash prizes of S$10,000 S$5,000 and S$3,000 respectively.

The SPC is a core programme under Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ BLOCK71 (PIER71), a collaboration between the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS). The fourth edition of the SPC received 187 applications from start-ups around the world and was conducted online for the first time. Many of these applications seek to automate processes and reduce reliance on manpower through solutions such as robots for hull cleaning, and virtual walkthrough of vessels for ship inspections, which is particularly beneficial in light of COVID-19. From the pool of highly qualified proposals received, 16 were selected, putting their teams into PIER71 Accelerate, a six-week market validation and customer discovery programme.

Focusing on areas such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, Internet of Things and robotics, all 16 finalists will be eligible to apply to MPA for a grant of up to S$50,000 to embark on pilot projects with maritime companies.

Mr Chee said, “In today’s age, what gives us a competitive edge is not capital but new ways to unlock value from our businesses. We must ensure that innovation thrives and flourish in Maritime Singapore. This calls for a collaborative approach. Government agencies such as MPA, academia, industry, and solution-providers must come together to translate innovative ideas into real-world solutions. Through SPC, we support technology start-ups to co-create solutions with the industry, which can be exported world-wide.”

Professor Freddy Boey, NUS Deputy President (Innovation and Enterprise), said, “PIER71 is a collaborative effort that brings vital parts of the ecosystem together to fast-track technology solutions industry-wide. Our vision for this partnership with MPA is to raise the competitive edge of start-ups by injecting deep tech developed in Singapore, starting with those from NUS, to strengthen their offering to the industry, and to broaden their reach beyond Singapore.”

Grace Chia, CEO of BeeX commented, “PIER71 has been an extremely comprehensive acceleration programme, helping us refine our value propositions to maritime corporates. We are thankful for the mentorship, networking opportunities and guidance. The win is a great encouragement to our team, and we look forward to working with the ecosystem to improve underwater inspections.”

Twelve of the 2019 SPC cohort were awarded the MPA grant earlier this year and several have made headway with their prototypes in the maritime industry. Among the award recipients, two Singapore-based start-ups have also secured additional funding. Edufied (parent company of Marified) raised seed funding valued at nearly US$4 million, while Performance Rotors also secured funding from Dutch multinational Royal Vopak, a leading global tank storage company. Both have plans to expand their operations overseas.

A recording of the SPC 2020 final, as well as information on the finalists, are available at https://spc2020.pier71.sg.

 

Annex A: PIER 71 Factsheet

Annex B: Speech by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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About PIER71

Founded by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), through its entrepreneurial arm NUS Enterprise, PIER71 (Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined at BLOCK71) aims to grow Singapore’s maritime innovation ecosystem. PIER71 boosts innovation in the maritime and maritime-related industries by attracting talents, creating opportunities for the exchange of knowledge and ideas, attracting investments into start-ups and accelerating ventures.

 

PIER71 designs and delivers programmes to uncover opportunities within the industry and supports entrepreneurs from ideation to acceleration of their ventures. PIER71 provides access to various markets, demand drivers, technology solution providers, investors and more. PIER71 also represents a budding and increasingly vibrant ecosystem of stakeholders who are keen to digitalise and create the next wave of maritime innovation.

 

For more information, please visit https://pier71.sg

About the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)

MPA was established on 2 February 1996, with the mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre, and to advance and safeguard Singapore’s strategic maritime interests. MPA is the driving force behind Singapore’s port and maritime development, taking on the roles of Port Authority, Port Regulator, Port Planner, IMC Champion, and National Maritime Representative. MPA partners the industry and other agencies to enhance safety, security and environmental protection in our port waters, facilitate port operations and growth, expand the cluster of maritime ancillary services, and promote maritime R&D and manpower development.

 

For more information, please visit www.mpa.gov.sg/web/portal/home

 

 

About National University of Singapore (NUS)

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university, which offers a global approach to education, research and entrepreneurship, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. We have 17 faculties across three campuses in Singapore, as well as 12 NUS Overseas Colleges across the world. Close to 40,000 students from 100 countries enrich our vibrant and diverse campus community.

 

Our multidisciplinary and real-world approach to education, research and entrepreneurship enables us to work closely with industry, governments and academia to address crucial and complex issues relevant to Asia and the world. Researchers in our faculties, 31 university-level research institutes, research centres of excellence and corporate labs focus on themes that include energy; environmental and urban sustainability; treatment and prevention of diseases; active ageing; advanced materials; risk management and resilience of financial systems; Asian studies; and Smart Nation capabilities such as artificial intelligence, data science, operations research and cybersecurity.

 

For more information on NUS, please visit www.nus.edu.sg.

About NUS Enterprise

NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of NUS, plays a pivotal role in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at NUS and beyond. It actively promotes entrepreneurship and cultivates global mind-sets and talents through the synergies of experiential entrepreneurial education, active industry partnerships, holistic entrepreneurship support and catalytic entrepreneurship outreach. Its initiatives and global connections support a range of entrepreneurial journeys and foster ecosystem building in new markets. These initiatives augment and complement the University’s academic programmes and act as a unique bridge to industry well beyond Singapore’s shores.

 

For more information, please visit https://enterprise.nus.edu.sg

 

For media enquiries, please contact:

 

Tay Hsu Chern

MPA Corporate Communications

Mobile: (65) 9111 4205

Email: tay_hsu_chern@mpa.gov.sg

 

Priscilla Goh

Mobile: (65) 9622 6004

Email: priscillagoh@pier71.sg