Frequently asked questions

The challenge

What are nature-based solutions or NbS?

Here’s a definition we like from WWF: "Nature-based solutions for climate harness the power of nature to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also help us adapt to the impacts of climate change. They are win-win solutions that involve protecting, restoring and sustainably managing ecosystems to address society's challenges and promote human well-being.

Forests are probably the most well-known nature-based solution for climate change, but there are many more - including peatlands, mangroves, wetlands, savannahs, coral reefs and other landscapes."

What specific challenge is the Sustaintech Xcelerator focused on?

We are focused on building greater trust for NbS for investors looking to develop these nature-centric solutions to climate change and companies looking to offset their emissions with high-quality carbon credits. Today, highly manual verification processes and a general lack of transparency around the risks and impacts (e.g. biodiversity, social, financial) of NbS projects limits their development potential.

The Sustaintech Xcelerator is seeking innovators who can address these limitations by:

  • Reducing the cost and improving the accuracy of environmental verification (carbon sequestration)

  • Valuing social- and biodiversity co-benefits of NbS projects

  • Providing ongoing monitoring of NbS assets (forests, mangrove belts etc)

  • Improving the financial transparency of NbS projects




What type of climate innovators should apply?

We invite start-ups, established companies and academics commercialising new technologies to join the challenge. To find out more, click here

Can I apply with an academic research project?

While we acknowledge the need to continue developing fundamental NbS science, the Sustaintech Xcelerator is not a research grant program. Instead, we welcome academics working on research that has a clear path to commercialisation. Together with our commercial partners and the National University of Singapore Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, we are keen to support this path.


I am not based in Singapore. Can I apply?

Yes, you can apply if you are not based in Singapore. We will be conducting the accelerator virtually.

What stage of prototype should apply?

We are looking along the spectrum from earlier-stage startups that have developed initial prototypes to established companies with more mature solutions that they may be looking to scale or commercialise in Singapore/APAC, for example. All applicants will be evaluated on the relative traction, commercialisation and impact potential of their solutions. We will be running a bespoke mentoring model for the accelerator so that each team is matched with the support and resources required for their particular stage of development. 

Who will be on the judging panel? 

The judging panel will be comprised of senior leaders from each of our partner organisations: DBS Bank, Google Cloud, the National University of Singapore Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions , Temasek, Verra, and The World Bank.

Would there be any interviews?

The selection decision will be made based on primarily online application submission and we may select companies or project teams to meet us for an informal virtual interview.

How many will be accepted?

The number of companies entering the cohort depends on the innovation, relevance and vision of the solution. To find out more about the judging criteria, please go to the “Judging Criteria” on our home page.

When will the selected teams be announced?

We will be announcing the Sustaintech Xcelerator cohort by January 29. To find out more, click here

Who’s behind the Sustaintech Xcelerator?

Sustaintech Xcelerator is a joint initiative by DBS Bank, Temasek, World Bank, Google and the National University of Singapore Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions. These organisations are striving to exponentially increase the impact of nature-based solutions in partnership with climate innovators around the world.


Can everybody from my team join the accelerator?

We encourage at least two members of your team to be dedicated to the Sustaintech Xcelerator to get the most value out of the programme.

Does it cost money to participate in the accelerator?

Nope, it won’t cost you a cent!

What legal status is required? 

A registered company is required for legal contracts and disbursement of grant.

Will we be required to share any IP or equity as part of the program?

You will not be required to share any IP developed during the program. The grants and mentorship provided are equity-free and are intended to help accelerate the development of your technology solutions. We will support teams in establishing opportunities to remain engaged in the Singapore ecosystem – for example, through academic partnerships and commercialisation opportunities. Any IP and equity discussions that arise from these opportunities will be independent of the Sustaintech Xcelerator.

What is the structure of the accelerator?

During the 6 months of the programme, you will be assigned a dedicated mentor from our partner organisations. The accelerator will start with a discovery phase where we will dive further into your mission, current needs and plans in order to craft a bespoke support plan for you throughout the 6 months. Each selected applicant will receive technology resources from Google, access research expertise at NUS and will pitch at the Ecosperity Conference organised by Temasek.

Throughout the process, we will work with you to connect you to relevant stakeholders in the Singapore ecosystem to help accelerate your development and to explore opportunities for localising your solutions.


How does mentorship work?

We will organise a matchmaking experience to ensure that both parties get the most out of the accelerator engagement. We recommend that you meet bi-weekly at the minimum – virtually and/or in-person.

Who are the mentors?

Our mentoring team is built from relevant experts across our partner organisations and from our extended network of NGOs, academic institutions, NbS project developers and other technical experts. We will share more details of the panel with the confirmed cohort.

Will I or my company receive any funding from this accelerator?

Yes, we will be providing grants of S$50,000 for all innovators that make it into the Sustaintech Xcelerator. The grant of $50,000 is per project team or company that is selected to enter the Xcelerator cohort. Grants are to be used to support the development of MVPs, proof-concepts and other tangible deliverables that will help to accelerate your solutions.