Block 71

Small World Group Incubator started in January 2010 as one of the initial group of 7 NRF TIS group.  It has been an interesting journey over the last 4 years.

To date we have started 15 companies, closed 5, sold 1 and have 4 of the companies nearing $1M per year in sales.  All that is pretty normal for the statistics of a seed level VC here in SE Asia.

Initially we worked out of offices provided to us by Nanyang Technological University at the NTU Ventures buildings.

But in November, 2011 we moved to “Block 71” which was an older building slated to be torn down so that newer and shinier buildings could be put up.  Building is the national sport of Singapore.  Block 71 was rescued from destruction by some folks at the National University of Singapore and made the home for startups.  In all fairness Block 71 is a partnership between the Media Development Authority of Singapore, NUS and others.

Small World Group Incubator took 4000 sq ft of space kept it relatively open except for some conference rooms and began adding companies to the space.  Today it looks more like a USA garage than a Singapore start up space.  It has 3D printers, CNC laser cutters and machining centers, soldering station, electronic measurement equipment, fixed wing and hex-copter drones, LED lighting, embedded energy monitoring and much more.

And wouldn’t you know it, but now Block 71 has an article about it in the Economist.  You can find it here.

Overall the article is a pretty good tale about how this single building became such a successful nucleation site for startups and it shows how when you create sufficiently distilled interactions things can transform pretty fast.

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Posted in Essays, Investing, Singapore Incubator

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