Seven Start-up Grant Recipients Announced at Launch of Smart Port Challenge 2021

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), today announced the launch of Smart Port Challenge (SPC) 2021 under Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ BLOCK71 (PIER71). Joining PIER71’s network of Venture Capital (VC) partners this year are: IMC Ventures, Motion Ventures and MOL PLUS. Maritime technology start-ups will be able to tap on S$30 million of potential funding from these individually-managed funds and benefit from the wealth of maritime and entrepreneurial expertise available.


2          Seventeen innovation opportunities have been co-created with 21 maritime corporates in the areas of (1) Smart Port; (2) Smart Ship; (3) Crew Safety, Training and Wellbeing; (4) Smart Maritime Services and Logistics; and (5) Green Technology for SPC 2021. Technology start-ups are invited to submit proposals for consideration. Shortlisted start-ups will gain access to PIER71 Accelerate, a six-week market validation and customer discovery programme; PIER71’s global network of partners; mentoring; workshops and masterclasses; the opportunity to win top three cash prizes of S$10,000, S$5,000 and S$3,000 respectively; as well as continued entrepreneurial and technical support beyond SPC. Finalists are also eligible to apply for MPA’s MINT-STARTUP grant of up to S$50,000 to pilot their projects.


3          Now into its fifth year, SPC has supported close to 60 start-ups to date through PIER71 Accelerate. Seven start-ups from last year’s SPC[1] have been awarded with MPA’s start-up grant for prototype development and test-bedding, bringing the total grant funding disbursed to past PIER71 start-ups to about S$2 million. Over the next 12 months, these start-ups will collaborate with PIER71’s maritime corporate partners on pilot projects that focus on the use of autonomous robotics, vision analytics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, among others.


4          Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport, said, “While Maritime Singapore has remained resilient during the pandemic, we should ride on this momentum to build even stronger capabilities and position ourselves to grow further and be ready for the future. Innovation in the area of maritime technology (Marinetech) will be key. Marinetech is a fast-growing area with a promising future. Singapore is well-placed to develop this sector as we have strengths in both maritime and technology. By bringing together problem statements and solutions for the maritime sector, Smart Port Challenge has become a key pillar of our efforts to develop a strong Marinetech sector in Singapore.”


5          Professor Freddy Boey, NUS Deputy President (Innovation and Enterprise), said, “PIER71 continues to attract start-ups and other key stakeholders that make the maritime innovation ecosystem as vibrant as it is today. As part of our larger effort in developing deep-tech and industry-relevant programmes, NUS sees this collaboration with MPA as an important driver in bridging innovation solutions with the wider industry needs. In the coming months, the PIER71 programme will be further enhanced with activities in the areas of technology commercialisation, internationalisation and talent development.”


6          The SPC 2021 virtual launch event will be available on The closing date for submission of proposals is 10 August 2021.


Annex A: Infographic on Strengthening Our Marinetech Ecosystem



Annex B: PIER71’s new Venture Capital partners


IMC Ventures


With an aim to create a positive environmental and social impact via investments in the maritime & logistics industries, IMC Ventures was established by IMC Industrial Group (“IMCIG”) to focus on creating sustainable returns and operational synergies between start-ups and IMCIG’s business units by enabling these start-ups scale through access to its network of customers, infrastructure and resources.


IMCIG is part of Singapore-headquartered IMC Pan Asia Alliance Group which is actively invested in a diverse portfolio of investments covering shipping, ports, resources, real estate, investment management and lifestyle industries across the globe. With a business heritage dating back to early 1900s involving shipping and transportation activities, IMC Pan Asia Alliance Group has evolved across the decades and it currently employs more than 9,000 people in 15 countries with major presence in China, Indonesia and Thailand.


Motion Ventures


Motion Ventures is a S$30 million consortium-driven venture capital fund accelerating technology adoption across the maritime value chain. It is backed by conglomerates Wilhelmsen, HHLA and SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore. Motion Ventures is also powered by the venture builder firm Rainmaking, which has built, invested and accelerated over 900 ventures globally and has a combined portfolio value of more than US$2 billion. For more information please visit




MOL PLUS is a Corporate Venture Capital wholly owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.

Our investment ceiling is about SGD 50 million as total and invest to Early/Middle stage of Start-ups. We will collaborate with Start-ups who make Innovation at Ocean Shipping business or Logistics. We aim to generate synergetic effects by combining innovative ideas and technologies from start-up companies with MOL Group resources to create new businesses.


For more information on existing Venture Capital partners, please visit

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