Singapore’s Block 71 is well-known globally as an example of how the government can foster and bring together a startup ecosystem under one roof. Housing about 250 startups – the new expansion will double its capacity to 500 companies – the model is now being transplanted halfway across the world to the mecca of tech startups, San Francisco.
The new co-working space, which will be called Block 71 San Francisco, was the result of joint efforts by Infocomm Investments (IIPL), NUS Enterprise, and SingTel Innov8. According to an official statement, the initiative aims to “strengthen ties between startup ecosystems in Singapore and the US,” allowing tech companies from both countries to better know their respective markets and hence explore business opportunities and build networks there.
“There’s been a steady increase of US-based companies and venture funds looking to access the Southeast Asian market [in the past four years]. Likewise, Southeast Asia-based startups and venture funds are looking towards Silicon Valley,” explains Edgar Hardless, CEO of SingTel Innov8. “Block 71 San Francisco will help create synergies for the greater ecosystem.”
The space – which will be available to companies supported by the IIPL, NUS Enterprise, and SingTel Innov8 – will be located in the South of Market area, which NUS Enterprise CEO Dr. Lily Chan describes as an “up-and-coming area for the technology startup community.” It will house a co-working space managed by NUS Enterprise, brainstorming rooms, and a gathering area for community events run by the three parties. IIPL and SingTel Innov8 will also have offices within the facility to provide support to startups from Singapore.
A representative from NUS Enterprise tells Tech in Asia that the venue will be offering the 24 hot desking spaces free for up to three months, but have no plans for those who would like to stay for longer durations at the moment as they expect startups to come and go.
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