PIER71™ Commemorates 5th Anniversary of Nurturing MarineTech Start-ups

PIER71 Smart Port Challenge 2023 Winners - Banner

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and National University of Singapore (NUS) commemorated the 5th anniversary of PIER71™[1] at the inaugural PIER71™ Great Circle 2023 event held today at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

2.         The event comprised the 7th edition of the Smart Port Challenge Grand Finals, a MarineTech Start-up Innovation Showcase, and the inaugural PIER71TM Ascend. PIER71™ Great Circle 2023 event draws inspiration from the practice of great-circle navigation and reflects the efforts by PIER71TM to help start-ups get on the most direct route to deliver maritime innovation.

Five Years of Nurturing MarineTech Start-ups

3.         Since its establishment in 2018, PIER71™ has nurtured close to 110 MarineTech start-ups with the support of 62 corporate partners. MPA’s Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund has supported over 50 start-up projects, with 26 solutions already deployed by the industry[2]. These start-ups have also raised over S$65 million in investments from venture capital (VC) partners to support their expansion. Five foreign MarineTech start-ups have also expanded to Singapore[3], and four start-ups including three from Singapore have been acquired by corporates[4].

4.         MPA and NUS have expanded PIER71™ initiative in 2023 to connect shortlisted start-ups to overseas markets, government stakeholders, and prospective maritime customers through the PIER71™ Ascend 12-month programme. The first cohort comprising four start-ups was unveiled today, and they will be working closely with PIER71™ to sharpen their growth strategy in 14 overseas markets[5] which they are operating in.

Winners of the Smart Port Challenge Grand Finals 2023

5.         18 finalists were shortlisted from a pool of 150 applications from 30 countries[6], and the top three winners were selected by a judging panel comprising Mr Koh Yong Ping, Chief Executive of Bureau Veritas Marine and Offshore, Professor Chai Kah Hin, Associate Professor of the Department of Industrial Systems Engineering and Management of NUS, and Mr Ng Yi Han, Director (Innovation, Technology and Talent Development) of MPA. Measure.AI, CRecTech, and Rux Energy emerged as the first, second, and third winners respectively, and MicroSec received a Special Mention by the judges[7]. The evaluation criteria was based on quality of the innovation, business model, market potential, industry relevance, and the team’s capability including tech development and design skills.

6.         Close to 50% of the submissions received were related to maritime digitalisation, and 40% were related to maritime decarbonisation. These include solutions to support maritime clean fuels operations, carbon-value chain, electrification, and green maritime supply chain. The emphasis on digitalisation and decarbonisation reflects the increasing attention by the industry and urgency to accelerate the green energy transition. The 18 finalists have also completed PIER71™ Accelerate, an eight-week market validation and customer discovery programme and are now eligible to apply for a grant of up to S$100,000 from MPA to embark on pilot projects with maritime companies.

7.         Mr Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive, MPA, said, “Technology and innovation will play a pivotal role as the global shipping community and Maritime Singapore accelerates digitalisation and decarbonisation efforts. The PIER71™ programme partnership among MPA, and industry collaborators has helped to nurture Singapore’s maritime innovation ecosystem, incorporating clean alternative fuels and green maritime technologies. As we commemorate PIER71™ 5th anniversary, we will also strengthen PIER71™’s international linkages, expand the search for innovative solutions beyond our shores, and leverage the Port of Singapore as a Living Lab to pilot new ideas”.

8.         Professor Chen Tsuhan, Deputy President (Innovation and Enterprise), National University of Singapore (NUS), said, “Celebrating its 5th anniversary, PIER71™ has transformed the global maritime landscape through experiential initiatives like the Smart Port Challenge. Its Accelerate and Ascend programmes continue to strengthen start-ups in market validation and scaling up for sustainable growth. As a founding partner, NUS Enterprise champions innovation and entrepreneurship at the university and beyond. We support PIER71™ in leveraging NUS’s entrepreneurial programmes, including the Graduate Research Innovation Programme (GRIP) and NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC), as well as the global BLOCK71 network, extending valuable resources and growth opportunities to maritime talents and start-ups. This collaborative effort with MPA not only fosters innovation in enterprises, but also leaves a lasting impact on the maritime industry.”

9.         A recording of the PIER71™ Great Circle event will be available on the PIER71™ Youtube channel, and more details are available on the PIER71™ 2023 Great Circle microsite at www.greatcircle2023.pier71.sg.

[1] Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ BLOCK71 (PIER71™) was jointly established in 2018 by MPA and NUS

[2] Annex A – Project Description of Technology Deployment

[3] Annex B – Expansion of Overseas PIER71™ Start-ups to Singapore

[4] Annex C – PIER71™ Start-ups Acquisitions

[5] BeeX (operating in Singapore, Germany, Netherlands, and United States of America), Portcast (operating in  China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Netherlands, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Vietnam), Riverr (operating in Philippines and Singapore), and WeavAir (Operating in Canada, Singapore, and South Korea).

[6] The countries include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Uruguay

[7] Annex D – List of Winners for Smart Port Challenge 2023