Expanded PIER71™ Programmes to Support Singapore’s Development as A Global Maritime Technology Start-Up Hub

23 Nov, 2021

Expanded PIER71TM Programmes to Support Singapore’s Development as A Global Maritime Technology Start-Up Hub


Three Winners announced at the Smart Port Challenge 2021 Grand Final


The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) renewed its partnership to strengthen the maritime technology (MarineTech) ecosystem through enhanced and new innovation initiatives and start-up programmes for another three years. Under this partnership, MPA and NUS will expand the scope of the PIER71™ (Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ BLOCK71) initiative to better support Singapore’s growing maritime technology or MarineTech start-up ecosystem. This was announced by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport, at the Smart Port Challenge (SPC) 2021 Grand Final.


2          The new programme components introduced to the PIER71™ initiative are aimed at strengthening the growth of MarineTech start-ups, attracting more investments, supporting internationalisation, and increasing tech solution deployment to the maritime industry. They include:

  1. PIER71™ Ascend – A 12-month, by-invite only scale-up programme, with curated masterclasses, industry networking sessions, and an immersion programme aimed at connecting start-ups to overseas markets and government stakeholders, as well as prospective maritime customers. Promising scale-ups can also apply for grant support of up to S$100,000 to scale their solutions, under MPA’s MINT-STARTUP scheme.
  2. Investor Connection – Structured pitching and venture capital (VC) networking events will be organised for start-ups to gain access to investors and capital. This aims to increase the amount of investment into PIER71™ and partner programmes’ alumni.


3          The three winners of SPC 2021 were also announced by Mr Chee at the event. The first, second and third place winners are WeavAir, EcoWorth and Spinoff Robotics. Together with the other finalists, they were evaluated by a panel of judges on their proposed solution, business model, market opportunity, impact to the maritime industry and overall team capability. The winning teams walked away with cash prizes of S$10,000, S$5,000 and S$3,000 respectively.


4          The fifth edition of the SPC received over 150 applications from start-ups around the world and 18 were shortlisted as finalists. For the first time, two of the shortlisted start-ups participated as a team, combining their complementary technologies into a joint proposition to automate on-ground cargo management.


5          Solutions addressing safety and well-being of maritime personnel featured strongly this year, in line with the increased attention paid by the industry on this focus area. Other innovative solutions include application of artificial intelligence, data analytics and robotics to optimise the global supply chain, automate processes and create more sustainable shipping operations. All 18 finalists have completed PIER71TM Accelerate, a seven-week market validation and customer discovery programme and are now eligible to apply for a grant of up to S$50,000 from MPA to embark on pilot projects with maritime companies.


6          Mr Chee said, “As Maritime Singapore emerges from the pandemic, we are going for growth.  Our ambition to be a leading MarineTech hub is a key driver of this growth. Through MPA and NUS’s renewed partnership and new initiatives, we will support MarineTech companies with access to markets, technology, funding, and talent, to enable good ideas to become scalable solutions.”


7          Professor Freddy Boey, Deputy President (Innovation and Enterprise), said, “The impact that PIER71TM has made in growing the maritime innovation ecosystem to where it is today, is a testament to the synergies between MPA and NUS. The renewal of our partnership will bring on new initiatives that align with the strategic direction of attracting talent, technologies and investments that will strengthen the maritime sector’s ability to create new ventures as well as a more efficient and sustainable global supply chain.”


8        Natalia Mykhaylova, Founder & CEO of WeavAir commented, “Our team is extremely impressed with the PIER71™ programme, mentorship quality, professionalism and guidance that helped us expand and find validation very quickly. A top-notch programme recommended for all start-ups who are in or considering expanding in the maritime industry.”


9          Six* previous SPC finalists also secured funding ranging from Seed to Series A, with the highest being US$7m raised by a 2018 finalist, dltledgers, a blockchain start-up that was part of successful electronic bill of lading (eBL) trial between Singapore and the Netherlands.


9          A recording of the SPC 2021 Grand Final, as well as information on the finalists, will be available at https://spc2021.pier71.sg.




* dltledgers; Performance Rotors; Portcast; FUELSAVE; BeeX; Kanda