Seven Grant Recipients Announced at Launch of Smart Port Challenge 2021

18 Jun, 2021

Three New Venture Capital Partners Boost Investment Funding

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.


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.


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* 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.


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.”


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.”


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


* The seven start-ups are BeeX, LEDR Technologies, Mooah, MRC Hosting (, mVizn, Vebits AI and Vulcan AI. For more information on these start-ups, please visit


Annex A: Infographic on Strengthening Our Marinetech Ecosystem

Annex B: PIER71’s new Venture Capital partners


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About PIER71

Founded by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), through its entrepreneurial arm NUS Enterprise, PIER71 (Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined at BLOCK71) aims to grow Singapore’s maritime innovation ecosystem. PIER71 boosts innovation in the maritime and maritime-related industries by attracting talents, creating opportunities for the exchange of knowledge and ideas, attracting investments into start-ups and accelerating ventures.

PIER71 designs and delivers programmes to uncover opportunities within the industry and supports entrepreneurs from ideation to acceleration of their ventures. PIER71 provides access to various markets, demand drivers, technology solution providers, investors and more. PIER71 also represents a budding and increasingly vibrant ecosystem of stakeholders who are keen to digitalise and create the next wave of maritime innovation.

For more information, please visit



About the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)

MPA was established on 2 February 1996, with the mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre, and to advance and safeguard Singapore’s strategic maritime interests. MPA is the driving force behind Singapore’s port and maritime development, taking on the roles of Port Authority, Port Regulator, Port Planner, IMC Champion, and National Maritime Representative. MPA partners the industry and other agencies to enhance safety, security and environmental protection in our port waters, facilitate port operations and growth, expand the cluster of maritime ancillary services, and promote maritime R&D and manpower development.

For more information, please visit


About National University of Singapore (NUS)

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university, which offers a global approach to education, research and entrepreneurship, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. We have 17 faculties across three campuses in Singapore, with more than 40,000 students from 100 countries enriching our vibrant and diverse campus community. We have also established our NUS Overseas Colleges programme in more than 15 cities around the world.

Our multidisciplinary and real-world approach to education, research and entrepreneurship enables us to work closely with industry, governments and academia to address crucial and complex issues relevant to Asia and the world. Researchers in our faculties, 30 university-level research institutes, research centres of excellence and corporate labs focus on themes that include energy; environmental and urban sustainability; treatment and prevention of diseases; active ageing; advanced materials; risk management and resilience of financial systems; Asian studies; and Smart Nation capabilities such as artificial intelligence, data science, operations research and cybersecurity.

For more information on NUS, please visit


About NUS Enterprise

NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of NUS, plays a pivotal role in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at NUS and beyond. It actively promotes entrepreneurship and cultivates global mind-sets and talents through the synergies of experiential entrepreneurial education, active industry partnerships, holistic entrepreneurship support and catalytic entrepreneurship outreach. Its initiatives and global connections support a range of entrepreneurial journeys and foster ecosystem building in new markets. These initiatives augment and complement the University’s academic programmes and act as a unique bridge to industry well beyond Singapore’s shores.

For more information, please visit


For media enquiries, please contact:

Tay Hsu Chern

MPA Corporate Communications



Priscilla Goh

PIER71 Marketing & Digital Communications



Annex A – Infographic on Strengthening Our Marinetech Ecosystem

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