Building an entrepreneurial bridge between Singapore and India

Building an entrepreneurial bridge between Singapore and India

Wednesday October 23, 2019,

6 min Read

There are many factors that power a startup ecosystem. While ideas, innovation, and investments are key, there is a growing need for alliances and partnerships. This ensures that development and growth do not only happen in geographical silos, but also that knowledge is shared across borders to inspire and to solve universal challenges.

Amidst all the innovation and ideas on Day 1 of Techsparks 2019, one of the highlights was the announcement of a landmark collaboration between Singapore and India. Speaking to a packed room, Singapore’s Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, Mr S Iswaran announced the expansion of the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) network to Bengaluru.

The GIA network already has connections in 11 cities globally – Bangkok; Beijing, Suzhou, Shanghai, Berlin, Munich, Jakarta, Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, and Ho Chi Minh City. Through the GIA network, Enterprise Singapore, the government agency championing enterprise development, will help connect Singapore technology startups and SMEs to India’s growing innovation ecosystem and boost business partnerships between Singapore and India.

“The innovation ecosystems in both Singapore and India share many synergies. Bengaluru, for example, has an established technology scene, along with a strong startup and innovation ecosystem. The expansion of the GIA network here provides Singaporeans and Singapore companies with more opportunities to better connect and collaborate with their counterparts in India, and co-create innovative solutions,” said Mr Iswaran.

He added that he hoped the alliance would pave the way for more partnerships between enterprises from both countries, and drive the growth of both startup ecosystems and economies. During his visit to the country, Mr Iswaran, was joined by a Singapore business delegation comprising both tech companies and startups. They were introduced to local startup ecosystem players by both YourStory and Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka C N Ashwath Narayan, to discuss potential collaboration and strengthen ties between both countries.

Four MoUs were signed as part of the GIA network, between Enterprise Singapore with Anthill Ventures, The Indus Entrepreneurs Global (TiE Global) and YourStory respectively, and Anthill Ventures with Bridge+.

Under the MoU between Enterprise Singapore and Anthill Ventures, Anthill Ventures will run the GIA Acceleration Programme to facilitate Singapore-based startups entering India through Bangalore, as well as India-based startups planning to scale in Asia through Singapore as a springboard. The programme consist of two stages:

Stage 1 – Pre-Immersion Singapore Boot Camp

The first stage consists of a three-day pre-immersion boot camp in Singapore. Startups and SMEs will participate in this preparatory boot camp before they are immersed in Bangalore for two weeks. The boot camp will provide insights into India’s demographics, business landscape and culture.

Stage 2 – India Immersion Programme in Bangalore

The second stage will consist of a two-week in-market programme in Bangalore. Participants will be mentored and connected to Indian enterprises, participate in field trips to R&D labs and government agencies, as well as attend masterclasses to assist them in localising their business models. Relevant business matching services, recruitment contacts, legal and tax advisory, and other business services such as co-working spaces and secretarial support will also be provided. Startups and SMEs will also have the option of participating in Anthill’s three-month-long curated market access programme and the opportunity to be selected for Anthill’s A- scale market access programme upon completion of the GIA Acceleration Programme.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Prasad Vanga, CEO and Founder, Anthill Ventures, said, “At the outset, Anthill Ventures is thrilled to partner with Enterprise Singapore and be part of the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) network to scale technology startups. We are also partnering with BRIDGE+, tapping their world-class amenities in co-working spaces and excellent support to be a strong enabler for startups, under the GIA Acceleration Programme offered by Anthill Ventures. We look forward to these partnerships and adding more value to various stakeholders in the startup ecosystem.”

To give greater exposure to Singapore’s entrepreneurs and businesses to opportunities in India’s innovation ecosystem, TiE Singapore will lead a group of Singapore tech startups to Bangalore and Chennai later this year.

“The strategic collaboration between TiE Global and Enterprise Singapore would further strengthen the bridge between India and Singapore’s startup ecosystems, which today are among the most vibrant in the world. We look forward to collaborating and connecting Singapore startups into India’s ecosystem,” said Mr Puneet Pushkarna, Board of Trustees - TiE Global.

“Bridge+ is an extension of our community development initiative, a key differentiator for our business parks. It was conceived as a response to meet the modern flexible workspace requirements and support the growth of the thriving technology and business tribes that exist in our IT parks. We are proud to be partnering with Anthill Ventures, to offer a platform to bring together entrepreneurs from Singapore and Bangalore to collaborate, innovate and build the technology corridor between the two tech hubs, as part of the Global Innovation Alliance network,” said Mr Vinamra Srivastava, CEO Business Parks, CapitaLand India.

Speaking about YourStory’s efforts to strengthen mindshare between the startup communities and highlight collaboration opportunities between the two countries

Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO at YourStory Media, said, "We are thrilled to partner with Enterprise Singapore and bring to our readers truly inspiring stories from Singapore's startup ecosystem. These stories will bridge the two innovation hubs together, and bring awareness to startups, corporate accelerators, and investors on various business and collaborative opportunities. While we showcase and celebrate some of these journeys across the borders, we would also actively participate in shaping many of these journeys. This is the start of an exciting new chapter for cross-border partnerships that will help startups from India and Singapore tap into each other's vibrant ecosystems."

Startups in India can also look forward to the upcoming SFFxSWITCH, a first-of-its-kind technology festival combining the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) with the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH). Taking place in Singapore from 11 – 15 November 2019, the week-long event will bring together fintech and deeptech ecosystems from around the world. Shradha Sharma will be on a panel, sharing the “Asian Perspective: Unlocking the Innovator’s Spirit”. Other speakers from India include Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Aarin Capital Partners; Girish Ramachandran, President of APAC, Tata Consultancy; Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, State Bank of India; Ankiti Bose, Co-Founder and CEO, Zilingo; BS Ajai Kumar, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, HealthCare Global Enterprises (HCG); amongst others. For more information on SFFxSWITCH, visit

For more information on Singapore startup ecosystem, visit

YourStory's annual extravaganza TechSparks brings together the best and the brightest from the startup ecosystem, corporate world, policymakers and, of course, the investor community. Over the past decade, TechSparks has grown to become India's most loved tech and startup platform for knowledge sharing and networking. A big thank you for all your support over the years and a big shoutout to our sponsors.