Singapore to build ecosystem of venture studios: DPM Heng, Garage

THE Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has entered Singapore’s corporate venture scene.

It parked its latest corporate venture campus in Singapore, and is part of the city-state’s efforts to “build up an ecosystem of venture studios” for corporate innovation, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the launch of BCG Digital Ventures’ new campus on Friday.

Although it is one of the newer entrants to Singapore’s corporate venture scene, BCG Digital Ventures has wasted no time. It has since partnered several corporates such as Temasek, Olam International, Singapore Exchange as well as DBS, to help them bring an idea to market within 12 months.

BCG Digital Ventures launched five new ventures in 2020, and has around 10 new incubations under its wing. The corporate innovation and tech incubation arm is part of BCG’s 11 innovation centres globally, and is part of the company’s efforts to target the corporate venturing scene in South-east Asia.

Peter Cho, managing director and partner at BCG Digital Ventures, said that the next wave of innovation could come from big corporates that are able to harness the power of their resources and assets to create new innovations, and not just from startups.

“Corporates are not standing still. They are trying a number of different vehicles for innovation . . . and corporate venturing is seeing a lot of traction,” he added.

In Singapore, the Economic Development Board (EDB) partners large corporates to create new ventures. It does so by deploying EDB officers to co-develop new ventures with corporates, tapping into EDB’s networks to support customer discovery and product validation, as well as providing risk capital.

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“Investment in innovation has and will always be a cornerstone of our economic policy, and a focus in our Budgets,” said Mr Heng.

Corporate venturing is one of the few ways to drive innovation in the economy, said Mr Heng. Over the past two years, more than 40 corporate ventures have been created.

One example is Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) KrisShop. KrisShop started as an in-flight sales channel, but has now evolved into a full-fledged omni channel e-commerce platform. This expansion has allowed SIA to diversify its revenue and continue engaging its customers during this period when most flights are grounded, he said.

Many large corporations have advantages that startups do not – such as access to customers, established supply chains and distribution channels, as well as a strong base of intellectual property and know-how, Mr Heng added.

“The challenge is to find creative ways for synergies between capabilities of large corporations with fresh and creative ideas of startups to create new ventures,” he noted.

“The pursuit of innovation will become even more indispensable as we navigate this crisis and venture into the post-Covid world.”


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