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14 Jan 2019 Updated 27 Jun 2019

Speech by Mr Peter Ong, Chairman, Enterprise Singapore at Antler’s Demo Day


10 JANUARY 2019

Mr Magnus Grimeland,

Mr Jussi Salovaara,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon.


1. I'm delighted to join you at the first Demo Day of Antler.

  • I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to the entire Antler team and its portfolio of companies for achieving this significant milestone.
  • I believe that all of you have benefitted greatly through this journey over the last few months.

Quality entrepreneurs form the bedrock of a startup ecosystem

2. People form the key component of any startup ecosystem. There can be many aspiring entrepreneurs, but it takes the right ingredients to groom quality ones who can create innovative, yet practical solutions that can create impact.

  • This is why Enterprise Singapore was very happy to welcome Antler as a partner for our flagship initiative which we call Startup SG. Partners such as Antler enable us to find the right entrepreneur with ambition, match them with suitable co-founders, provide funding, and connect them to mentors and experts who can help them speed up the process of ideation and commercialisation.    
  • As the agency responsible for growing Singapore as a hub for startups, we are happy to partner with Antler to groom more promising entrepreneurs.

3. How does the entrepreneur even begin? I think there is only one keyword - Focus, focus, focus.

  • If you recall Magnus’ welcome remarks on your first day of the programme, he drove home the message that to succeed, you will need ‘laser’ focus on your business, almost to the point of obsession.
  • I can’t agree more. It is extremely important to stay focused on what you set out to do, but also essential to retain the level of agility to pivot and adjust.
  • 62 high calibre entrepreneurs with such drive and focus were hand-picked by the Antler team to participate in the rigorous programme, resulting in the birth of 13 startups today.      

4. Antler’s inaugural startup generator programme in Singapore has witnessed some early results in a short timeframe.

  • For example, Sampingan, a platform that offers an on-demand salesforce for growing companies, has raised US$500,000 from Golden Gate Ventures after securing a pre-seed round of US$100,000 from Antler.
  • Cognicept, a technology and teleoperator service provider that resolves reliability issues for robotic systems, recently secured a global contract with Savioke, a Silicon-Valley based robotics firm.
  • I am confident that Antler will continue to push its startups to greater heights in 2019 as it expands its global reach.  

Singapore’s thriving startup ecosystem is an ideal hub for aspiring entrepreneurs to launch their businesses here and globally

5. Over the past decade, Enterprise Singapore has actively developed the startup ecosystem in Singapore. We set out to create a conducive environment that is open to innovation, and has the right resources to support the growth of these startups.

  • Having invested much time attracting and engaging accelerators, incubators and research institutions, we now house a strong community of over 100 global startup enablers and 150 venture capitalists.

6. To the new startups in our midst, my encouragement to you is to sink your roots here and blossom in overseas markets.

  • Earlier, I had the opportunity to speak with some of the international entrepreneurs from this cohort. Many have experienced first-hand, the benefits operating and forming multi-national teams. Each person brought unique experiences, networks and intimate knowledge of their own ecosystem to the table.
  • I am deeply encouraged to hear that founders with the ambition to build global businesses, such as Sampingan with founders from Indonesia, and Cognicept with founders from the US and India, have chosen Singapore as the starting point for their ventures.

7. So welcome to this ecosystem we call Singapore!

  • Beyond the availability of assistance programmes, startups can also tap on the closely-knit startup community in Singapore to co-innovate, test-bed new technologies, and gain new sources of funding.
  • For example:
    • AustriaNova, a biotech company that develops, manufactures, and tests biomedical-grade encapsulated cell products, has a co-development agreement with L’Oréal to explore introducing a product into the market under one of the L’Oréal’s brands.
    • Structo, a dental 3D printing solutions provider, partnered with PBA to deliver an automated solution to Ormco, US-based orthodontics company, and has completed the development of a multi-machine “Factory Solution System”.
  • Some of our valued Startup SG partners are in the audience today; they can also help you with that next step.

8. To us, startups need to be what we term as ‘born global’. Solutions that are not scalable will not go very far. But to be globally relevant, innovation and internationalisation need to be seen together in one breath.

  • Startups based in Singapore not only get to make use of the resources available here, they can leverage Singapore as an entry point into Southeast Asia, given our connectivity to the region.
  • We have also been building regional and global partnerships to make it easier for startups to access market opportunities and partners. Through the Global Innovation Alliance initiative, Enterprise Singapore has developed networks with global innovation hubs; some of these cities include Beijing, Bangkok, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin and Munich.
  • With the support of our partners, we are committed to building Singapore as a leading startup hub and gateway to Asia.


9. Let me conclude by wishing all the portfolio startups that will be pitching on stage this evening the very best in your ventures. I look forward to seeing more outstanding entrepreneurs and startups being born here in Singapore but growing globally. Thank you.