Huawei Cloud has launched the inaugural Spark Incubator program as part of its partnership with the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) PIXEL Innovation Hub.

In a statement, IMDA said the program targets early-stage Singapore-based start-ups in the pre-seed and seed space from sectors including FinTech, Web3, metaverse and software as a service (SaaS) focused enterprises, aims to support their growth to Series A and expansion in Singapore and ASEAN region.

The program aims to incubate up to 12 start-ups per cohort for a period of five months and will be run twice over the span of a year. It will provide access to valuable resources and expertise from Huawei and IMDA to further accelerate and grow their business.

Start-ups are expected to receive third party financing over S$250,000 ($181,555) or increase their valuation by at least 20 percent, or cross S$250,000 ($181,555) at its annual revenue in the post-program.

The nine start-ups chosen for the first year of the program that will run from November 2022 to March 2023 are Nervotec, NFT Circle, Heros, D-Risk, Corgi.AI, Linh.AI, Better Data, Zapkad and Xrator.

“We are proud to be collaborating with IMDA on the Spark Incubator Program, and help local early-stage start-ups commercialize, strengthen their technological capability, and raise funds effectively,” said Foo Fang Yong, Chief Executive Officer of Huawei International.

“Working alongside these most promising start-ups provides co-creation and innovative opportunities where together we can bring greater value to our customers, and upscale Singapore’s economic competitiveness in the long-term,

“We pledge to continue driving innovation with our start-up’s alumni from Singapore to Asia Pacific and even further, providing a global platform for the most ground-breaking and transformational companies to thrive,” he added.

Throughout this incubator program, participants can look to receive Huawei Cloud credits up to $60,000, up to $75,000 fee-free processing on Stripe, office space at PIXEL, as well as additional mentorship from Huawei and its like-minded industry partners such as IMDA, Stripe, AngelCentral, MasterCard, Monk’s Hill, GSR Ventures, Lion X Ventures, OCBC, Mycelium Ventures and DocuSign.

With this partnership, IMDA and Huawei will jointly help start-ups build customer-centric products by tapping on advice from PIXEL’s panel of consultants in Design Thinking and UI/UX with Digital Storytelling, along with access to lead corporate demand through IMDA’s Open Innovation Platform (OIP).

Additionally, start-ups can leverage Huawei services to enhance their product capabilities and receive dedicated technical support from Huawei Solution Architects.

They will also benefit from sessions including the 1-1 mentorship with Huawei and mentors like Stripe to nail product-market-fit, develop sound business plan and sharpen go-to-market strategy, curated masterclasses on business to business (B2B) deal navigation with experienced industry practitioners, and entrepreneur coaching classes to develop world-class pitch decks and effective presentation skills.

The program will provide opportunities to help start-ups build lasting business connections through Huawei’s corporate and venture capital partners such as GSR Ventures, Lion X Digital Innovation Fund (co-managed by Lion X Ventures and OCBC Bank) and Mycelium, and potentially expand their business to the Southeast Asia and China markets, as they strive towards post-program investments of up to S$3 million ($2.18 million).

“Start-ups participating in the Spark Incubator Program can look forward to dedicated mentorship and access to facilities,

“The program brings together Huawei’s expertise and IMDA PIXEL’s facilities in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, as well as the network of 12,000 solutions providers under IMDA’s Open Innovation Platform (OIP). These help Singapore start-ups build world-class products and scale across the region,” said Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, IMDA.

Since its inception from Singapore as a start-up accelerator in 2020, Huawei Cloud’s Spark program has received over 3,000 applications over the past two years across the globe, with $50 million raised by Spark alumni from investors.

Applications to join the May 2023 cohort of Huawei Spark Incubator program are open now. Eligible applicants should be Singapore-located, must ensure that teams already have at least a minimum viable product (MVP), possess a strong product-market fit and moat, paid proof-of-concepts, and have previous entrepreneurial or corporate experience, coupled with strong ambition to scale their business regionally and globally by leveraging Huawei Cloud.

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