Singapore: SPH Plug and Play, the start-up accelerator of Singapore’s largest newspaper publisher, has officially been declared dead.
SPH spokesman Yeo Siew Chi confirmed the news with Tech in Asia. Starting from this year, “the SPH Media Fund will focus on a direct investment strategy and we will no longer continue with the SPH Plug and Play accelerator program,” he said via email. The SPH Media Fund is the investment arm of SPH.
SPH denied the news of the shutdown last year when Tech in Asia first caught wind of it.
The spokesman did not respond when we asked him for the reasons behind the shutdown.
Yet earlier statements by a former SPH Plug and Play head Jupe Tan proved illuminating. He told marketing publication Mumbrella: “We could see that the ecosystem was expanding very quickly and was becoming very crowded for early stage accelerators,” he said, adding, “There were more accelerators and more investors than start-ups.”
Corporate accelerators overhyped?
SPH Plug and Play is a collaboration between the newspaper company and Plug and Play Tech Center, a global incubator of start-ups. The accelerator has graduated 16 teams so far.
Plug and Play is still running an accelerator in Singapore, except that it’s now doing it with Mercedes-Benz. It now helps the carmaker run its Start-up AutoBahn Singapore program.
Trouble brewing at SPH
Meanwhile, the legacy publisher faces an uncertain future. Its first-quarter 2017 net profit fell 47 percent against Q1 2016. It’s planning to lay off up to 10 percent of its staff within two years. SPH has not publicly articulated a clear digital investment strategy.
Source: Business Standard