Tag Archives: Technology Start Ups

Singtel wins Social Enterprise Champion of the Year

Singtel was recently named Social Enterprise Champion of the Year at the biennial President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Awards 2021 for its significant contributions that they have made in building the capacity of social enterprises in Singapore. The awards were presented by President Halimah Yacob at a ceremony held at the Istana on the evening of 2nd December 2021.

Ms Aileen Tan, Group Chief People and Sustainability Officer, said, “Singtel is honoured to be recognised for our support of the social enterprise sector in Singapore through Singtel Group Future Makers. Since our founding, we’ve strongly believed in harnessing the power of technology to empower generations of Singaporeans. Our efforts to nurture digital innovators through funding and access to our network and resources, is part of our approach to address the challenges they face in building capacity and partnerships, and scaling their businesses. We have seen how essential technology is in helping those most in need in our community during these challenging times, and we are proud of social enterprises who are driving technology innovation for social good. We look forward to continue growing the programme with the help of our partners such as raiSE to support more social enterprises that share in our vision.”

Singtel Group Future Makers, Singtel’s regional social innovation and capacity building programme, supports promising social impact start-ups with innovative technology solutions that help address social and healthcare challenges faced by the vulnerable in society.

This programmed was launched in 2016, Singtel has invested S$5 million to support 72 local and regional start-ups through grants and capacity building, mentoring and access to networking opportunities. Singtel also have subject matter experts from various business units such as digital marketing, HR, legal and strategy that are involved as mentors, coaches and evaluators as part of skilled volunteering efforts to empower the start-ups.

Singtel Group Future Makers has also help start-ups expand and scale up their solutions. Singtel works closely with business, government agencies, academia and community partners to create go-to-market opportunities and help build up a social innovation ecosystem to accelerate the start-ups’ growth. Those start-ups stand a chance to form collaborations and pilots across Singtel Group’s footprint including Australia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand.

In 2020, with the global pandemic COVID-19 taking place, Singtel launched a support track and committed an additional S$70,000 in grant funding to incubate start-ups with digital solutions that could address social and healthcare issues created by the pandemic.

The President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Awards are conferred by the President’s Office to honour outstanding businesses and their partners within the social enterprise sector in Singapore for contributions made to the local community.

* Information courtesy of Singtel *

Applications now open for Techstars Hub 71 Accelerator programme

For startups in Southeast Asia, I have good news and opportunity to share with you! Applications are now open for Techstars Hub 71 Accelerator programme! Having visited some start ups from different industries across different hubs, conferences and events in Singapore over the years, I do try my best to share start up news and information whenever possible. Embarking on a start up route resonates with me, very similar to my journey setting up and running my own  sole proprietor photography business. Moreover, I cover consumer (B2C) technology segments and in recent years, some B2B technology segments on this technology and business portal/blog.

What is the Techstars Hub 71 Accelerator programme all about? Let me share with you more information below:

Abu Dhabi is offering Southeast Asia startups the opportunity to go global through the Techstars Hub 71 Accelerator programme. They have just began accepting applications for the 2021 program. The 2021 program will continue to invest in seed stage and emergent stage startups at up to US$500,000 per startup.

  • Eleven new global startups were selected for Hub71’s latest Q2 2020 Cohort
  • 21% of the startups at Hub71 are led by female leaders and there are over 33 different Founder nationalities based in the tech ecosystem

Hub71’s partners and strategic partners, such as Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), ALDAR, and Mubadala Investment Company, a major sovereign wealth fund in Abu Dhabi; provides exclusive access to capital, market access, talent and innovation collaboration that will create new business opportunities for the companies selected for the accelerator.

Hub71 offers an attractive incentive program for seed stage companies which includes 100% non-equity subsidies for housing, healthcare, and office space in WeWork x Hub71, a brand new work space located at ADGM Square on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi – ideal for companies looking to expand into the Middle East.

Interested startups can apply here:

https://www.f6s.com/hub71accelerator-2021/apply

Do share this news and opportunity with fellow start ups in your country! You never know how such opportunity like the Techstars Hub 71 Accelerator programme can provide for your seed stage and emergent stage start up in your global expansion!

Good luck and all the best to all seed stage and emergent stage start up applicants from Southeast Asia to Techstars Hub 71 Accelerator programme!

* Information courtesy of Ogilvy *

FinTech startup ABC Technology establishes international HQ in Singapore

FinTech, also known as financial technology, an emerging industry that has rapidly expanded and transformed in recent years, thanks to the growth and expansion of technology, innovation and how our daily processes (in both personal and work/business) has changed in recent years. Singapore, an international financial hub, has placed a strong emphasis on the FinTech industry’s development and growth, transforming into an international FinTech hub. At the recently held Singapore FinTech Festival 2019, visitors and fellow financial industry professionals were able to learn, know and network with the various FinTech startups and financial institutions. During Singapore FinTech Festival 2019, I visited FinTech startup ABC Technology, whereby they also announced the establishment of its international headquarters in Singapore.

What is FinTech ABC Technology and what do they do?

Founded in 2016, they are a financial technology solution provider, developing innovative AI solutions for the banking and finance industry.

At the ABC Technology booth, I was introduced to their innovative AI platform and solutions, that automates entire data processing cycle from collection, extraction, search, analysis, visualising to reporting from both unstructured and structured data sources. Using natural language processing technology, this would greatly help banks, financial institutions and large enterprises to make better and faster decisions, draw information and insights.

Their product line-up includes

Everdroid.ai – Natural language processing AI for unstructured data extraction and automation

Analyst.ai – Natural language deep search engine for unstructured data and structured data

Eversight.ai – AI search based data mining and visualisation platform

Modeling.ai – AI asset management platform

Fin.data – Asset management investment research

There was a demonstration on how ABC Technology AI platform and solutions work, extracting data from financial reports. It does make a person’s work much easier, they don’t need to spend more time looking through pages and pages of reports. This would definitely reduce time wastage and making mistakes, thus allowing the person to concentrate on the analysis segment instead, better utilisation of both time and the person’s skills and knowledge on financial analysis/reporting.

Recalling from my undergraduate days doing financial accounting, management accounting and finance 101 subjects, extracting data can take up quite a lot of time, even before applying financial and management tools/ratios/analysis and doing up the report. Since my undergraduate days had no such thing called FinTech, I am able to relate how useful this ABC Technology AI platform could be for the finance industry and also for those big enterprises too.

Which segments of the finance industry would find ABC Technology AI platform useful and crucial?

With my previous working experiences in the financial advisory services industry, they might not be too applicable since they are dealing with end consumer needs. As for those with high net worth clients running businesses, it might come in handy and useful.

Other segments such as banks, insurance, securities and stock brokerage, investment fund houses and financial data analysis and financial news firms, I reckon ABC Technology would definitely be very useful, handy and important.

Beyond the finance industry, they are also applicable to other industries such as hotels and real estate. In this current world of big data, ABC Technology AI platform might just be the next platform and tools for your business, especially if your business is dealing with a lot of data.

For businesses and professionals working in the finance industry, it’s definitely worth a look into ABC Technology AI platform product line-up and see how they can integrate into your finance business operations. As for the other industries, finance, accounting and analysis are and will always be part of your business operations, adopting and implementing ABC Technology AI platform might be of a good strategic move and planning.

For more information on FinTech startup ABC Technology, please visit their website https://www.abcfintech.com/

I would like to thank ABC Technology and CIZA Concept for the invitation to visit ABC Technology at Singapore FinTech Festival 2019.

Rabobank’s SustainableAg Asia Challenge

Singapore is an incubator destination for many startups, from various industries and disciplines. Most of us would hear more of technology and financial startups communities/hubs in Singapore, there is a start-up and innovators segment in Singapore that doesn’t get that much limelight, in the agriculture technology and agriculture business. At the recent Rabobank’s SustainableAg Asia Challenge, I had the opportunity to learn more about agri-tech start-ups and innovators sector.

Rabobank’s SustainableAg Asia Challenge, supported by Rabo Foundation and Rabobank, brings banking and financial services and expertise to the agricultural industry along with technological developments to aid the agriculture industry. For this SustainableAg Asia Challenge, it drew a total of 138 submissions from a wide variety of technology start-ups and businesses in the food supply chain, from farming, food and agriculture traders, food companies and retailers. They used modern technology, data-driven technology, analysis and interconnectivity to develop market ready smart farming techniques to meet increased food demand in the Asia continent. The topic on food and demand is getting more important, due to our increasing world population size and global warming affecting agriculture output.

On the marathon Pitch Day, 14 shortlisted companies presented their solutions to a judging panel comprising senior management of Rabobank Foundation, as well as senior representatives of SustainableAg Asia Challenge partner companies ADB Ventures, Archer Daniels Midland, Bayer, Bits & Bites, COFCO International, DSM, Future Group, Olam International, and Temasek.

The winner was Stellapps Technologies from India, with its SmartMoo solution.

“Our application is aimed at driving digitization of the dairy sector through captured data from the entire supply chain, significantly enhancing income, profitability and yield per cow of famers in emerging economies,” said Umesh Parjapat, Program Manager at Stellapps Technologies.

During the media interview session with Umesh Parjapat, Program Manager at Stellapps Technologies, it was very interesting to hear more in-depth details from Umesh, on modern cutting edge technology being applied in the agriculture/food supply chain industry, they are a one-stop diary supply chain digitisation via Internet of Things (IoT), their expansion plans and future developments.

Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, Albert Boogaard, Head of Innovation at Rabo Foundation, said: “What’s happening in Asia in terms of scale and focus on the end users is really impressive. Overall, the judges were greatly impressed by the innovation, passion and commitment shown by participants of SustainableAg Asia Challenge. These technologies and new business models can serve as catalysts for Asia’s diverse and fragmented food and agriculture industry, providing food and agri companies with the means to reinvigorate food production with smart farming, more effective and efficient processing and distribution techniques, as well as improving lives for smallholder farmers throughout Asia.”

Diane Boogaard, Rabobank Asia’s CEO, said: “Data and innovation are key in driving the changes needed to improve food and agri supply chains, thereby creating more sustainable food production. Through the SustainableAg Asia Challenge we want to connect innovative solutions with our corporate clients to drive sustainability and integrity in agri-food supply chains. As a major cooperative Food & Agri bank, enabling the change to a more sustainable food supply chain is core to our mission of ‘growing a better world together’. We do this by providing access to our knowledge, networks and financing solutions.”

Having covered start-ups from different industries, I slowly expanded my coverage of start-ups and this segment of agri-tech start-ups and innovators is something new to me since Singapore doesn’t have much of a farming/agriculture industry due to our small land size, as well Singapore start-ups sector tends to be more pro towards other sectors as compared to the agri-tech sector.

We, human beings, love to eat yet we might have neglected the agriculture, food production, food supply sectors. In light of an increasing world population, climate change affecting food production and supply, I feel that some spotlight would now turn towards the agriculture, food production and food supply sector. With modern technology, innovation and data, agri-tech can help to improve sustainability in food production and supply, in a challenging limited natural resources landscape meeting with an increasing world population.

I strongly encourage people to visit and find out more about the SustainableAg Asia Challenge by Rabobank at: www.sustainableag.asia

* Information courtesy of Rabobank *

Infineon LG < / > Make Hackathon in Singapore on IoT

Thinking, designing and making a world a better, smarter and more connected world with/through Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, the inaugural “Infineon LG </> Make Hackathon” in Singapore on IoT took place in the month of June 2019 in Singapore.

Infineon and LG, two giant technology firms in the world, came together, driven by a common shared goal of creating a smarter and more connected world through IoT solutions, organised a hackathon in Singapore, to empower seasoned start-ups and student entrepreneurs to create new technological solutions for IoT that will run on the LG webOS open source platform, along with Infineon microelectronics capabilities in the areas of intelligence, power efficiency, security and sensing.

“This hackathon is about a shared community of innovators driven by a common desire to use leading-edge technologies to build a better future for all. We are delighted to be a strategic partner of LG in nurturing innovation in a globally connected ecosystem. Together, we can make life easier, safer and greener in tomorrow’s connected world,” said Mr. Chua Chee Seong, President and Managing Director, Infineon Asia Pacific.

“Our goal is to build and grow a global webOS community where developers may leverage a wide range of webOS functionalities such as AI, connectivity and IoT in their collaborative work to produce innovative solutions and services that together shape an even better life for all,” said Dr. I.P. Park, president and CTO of LG Electronics. “LG is excited to be a co-host of this event with Infineon, who has long been our valued partner in hardware, and wishes this hackathon to be the beginning of creating the future of IoT together.”

I visited the innovation showcase by the seasoned start-ups and student entrepreneurs during the Infineon LG </> Make Hackathon at Infineon Asia Pacific office in Singapore prior to the announcement of the winners. Some were pretty impressive in their innovative solutions and designs that could make an impact to the society down the road.

Infineon and LG provided interested innovators with technology guidance, as well as special access to products and software, helping the shortlisted teams at the Infineon LG </> Make Hackathon in Singapore develop their ideas and proof-of-concepts to the panel of judges.

What were some of the IoT solutions presented at Infineon LG </> Make Hackathon?

  1. Healthcare – prevent deaths among low-income pregnant mothers
  2. Wellness – smart cane for the blind, real-time physical performance analysis
  3. Environmental – real-time flood alert system, smart air-conditioning for spaces and user, and clean energy for homes
  4. Mobility – commerce and connectivity for smart vehicles, safer rides for motor-cyclists, safer rides for children
  5. Homeland security – fast and secure identification process

The panel of judges chose GoReMas Enterprise from Malaysia as the first prize winner and Wangi Lai PLT from Malaysia as the second prize winner.

1st Prize – GoReMas Enterprise, Malaysia

GoReMas Enterprise’s prototype, Floodsensed, is an IoT flood monitoring system with social media alerts such as Facebook, Slack, and Telegram, YouTube Live Stream etc. This equipment gathers critical data such as rain volumes, water levels, temperature, barometric pressure from the devices and nodes, sending the crucial data to the Floodsensed IoT platform for users.

I had a chat with GoReMas Enterprise when I was visiting the Innovation Showcase. I find their idea and design to be very useful for countries that have regions prone to flooding.

2nd Prize – Wangi Lai PLT, Malaysia

The 2nd prize innovative solution/design is the BAWA cane, a clip-on module for existing white canes, helping the blind and visually impaired identify and avoid obstacles with shared insights and foresights through data and analysis.

During the media interview with Wangi Lai PLT, he shared more on how the BAWA cane works and how their BAWA cane is helping the blind and visually impaired. Hopefully, with this prize win, the BAWA cane is able to make a difference and bigger impact to the blind and visually impaired people around the world.

It’s great to see Singapore hosting such a hackathon, with Infineon and LG partnering together to drive technological advancements and growth in the IoT solutions segment. This also showcase Singapore’s vibrant ecosystem as a startup hub with many partners based here.

The IoT solutions is an area that has a huge potential to grow bigger and wider in scope in this current and future market and technological developments. Infineon LG </> Make Hackathon on IoT, the inaugural hackathon held in Singapore, is a testimonial to that development and growth.

I look forward to Infineon and LG pushing forward ahead to create and grow the future of IoT solutions together through future Infineon LG </> Make Hackathons.

* Information courtesy of Infineon, LG Electronics and CIZA Concept *

Smarter Property Search with MOGUL.sg

Owning a property is probably high on many people’s agenda for their family/growth/future/financial planning in Singapore. Whether they are planning to own a public housing or private properties, people search for property listings in Singapore at different stages of their life, from getting a new property, moving to another new property and even selling their property.

How easy is it to search for property listings in Singapore? There are currently a few websites/portals that potential buyers/sellers can visit and check out. I used some of the property listings websites/portals before, doing some research into second hand public housing flats should I decide to move out on my own. I was even researching on two storey HDB shophouses for potential business investments too! My experiences using some of the property listings websites/portals were alright, it wasn’t fantastic and at times, cluttered with too many things on the page itself.

When I went for MOGUL.sg property search portal launch event, I wasn’t too sure how this new property search portal would turn out. MOGUL.sg uses Singapore Land Authority’s OneMap geospatial data and that is something that caught my attention. The OneMap is probably not as popular as Google Map (for Singapore context IMHO), although OneMap has a lot of details inside them.

Upon listening to the presentation by Mr Gerald Sim, CEO and Founder of MOGUL.sg, I was able to view this new property search portal and have a better understanding. After the presentation, I was able to get a hands on with the laptops available at the event for us to experience it for ourselves and try it out. The user interface (UI) is clean, uncluttered and easy to use, with the OneMap on the side, the user can do a lot more things/inputs to “search for their perfect/ideal home location”.

Whether you are a property buyer, property seller or property agent, I strongly encourage you to experience MOGUL.sg yourself! Try it out and there is a world of difference between current property search websites/portals in the market. To all my friends in the property industry, you have to check them out!

Now, let me share more information and details of MOGUL.sg –

Dubbed “Singapore’s smartest property portal,” MOGUL’s secret sauce is its implementation of custom keywords – which are generated from the Singapore Land Authority’s OneMap geospatial data – to help users search with greater granularity.

Traditional property portals let users filter their search by selecting from a small number of parameters such as district, location, price and type of property. The problem: The results swarm in by the hundreds, and even thousands, making the search unwieldy and time-consuming.

Enter MOGUL.sg’s keyword-based search system. It works just like Google Search. In its database are over 5,000 – and growing – custom keywords that describe the characteristics of the property that the user is searching for. Keying in “near North-South line” will show all property listings that are 0.5 km away from any MRT station along the red line. Combine a second keyword, “near supermarket”, and the system filters out homes which are more than 300m from any supermarket. Throw in more words such as “hawker centre”, “hospital”, “sports complex” and “park” or physical features such as “high floor”, “point block” or “boat dock”, and the home seeker gets the results he or she is looking for.

Gerald Sim, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of MOGUL.sg says: “The proliferation of property portals over the last decade offers consumers more choices but the search process has become too complex and unwieldy over the years. MOGUL.sg aims to use A.I. to simplify these processes and make the matching between property owners and home seekers easier and more transparent.”

MOGUL.sg is one of the pioneer start-ups housed at the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) recently-launched GeoWorks at Alexandra Road. GeoWorks was set up by SLA as an industry centre to galvanise the geospatial industry by connecting geospatial businesses, entrepreneurs as well as users and support them with the resources and expertise to catalyse geospatial innovation and solutions.

Harnessing OneMap data for smarter searching

MOGUL.sg makes use of SLA’s open-source OneMap which provides highly localised, granular and authoritative government geospatial data and services to the public. For example, OneMap provides information on multiple building types and amenities such as hawker centres, schools, child care centres and expressway exits.

OneMap’s routing API even recognises that void decks are unique buildings where people can walk through. This is important for MOGUL.sg to define the meaning of the word “nearby.” For example, when a user keys in the word “nearby hawker centre” the system will list all hawker centres within 3 minutes of walking time, considering the user’s ability to cut through the void decks.

“Having the most accurate and updated map data empowers our keyword-search system with powerful context. We may be the new kid on the block but integrating OneMap is our competitive advantage which will differentiate us,” added Mr Sim.

SLA Geospatial and Data Director and Chief Data Officer Ng Siau Yong said: “Location-based data is playing an increasingly integral role in our daily lives. We set up GeoWorks to encourage the growth of a geospatial-enabled community to leverage on geospatial technology and analytics to develop innovative solutions to benefit the wider community. We are pleased to be able to facilitate the development of MOGUL.sg by pioneering a GeoTech company based in GeoWorks.”

No ads in MOGUL.sg
The growth of advertising in property portals has made it a battle between agents with the deepest pockets to get onto the top of search results. Getting to the top of the list is often based on how much money the agent is spending instead of delivering the most relevant results to the home seeker. In addition, the organic results are often listed in chronological order with no regard for the degree of relevance to the user.

Mogul.sg does not support ad-listings because its primary goal is to deliver accurate and relevant results for the home seeker.

“We think that users are tired of having to scroll through pages of ads before even reaching organic results from real home owners. We want to do for property search what Google did for the Web search industry in the early 2000s – deliver accurate and useful search results for the users,” added Mr Sim.

Smart A.I. search with more relevant results

With MOGUL.sg’s keyword-based system, home seekers can easily narrow their search down to a manageable number of properties that match all their requirements (e.g. west-facing, near a primary school or any MRT, etc.). And if the home seeker doesn’t find what they’re looking for, MOGUL.sg’s in-built AI will scan all future listings and automatically recommends the ones that suit their search history.

At MOGUL.sg, users can also organise their favourite listings into folders, which can be shared with partners and family members.

Helping home owners find a match through property concierge services

MOGUL.sg also offers a property concierge service for users who do not want to scroll through multiple listings or contact multiple agents.  MOGUL.sg’s hand-picked concierge team can help the user by being their only point of contact throughout their real estate journey.

“Instead of focusing on advertising revenue, we want to move to an agent subscription service which levels the playing field for buyers, sellers and property agents,” added Mr Sim.

MOGUL.sg is currently offering free listings to agents for the first year and $365 for the subsequent year.

MOGUL.sg Features

Smart Search Home seekers can look for properties using custom keywords and receive in-built AI recommendations.

Property Tagging OneMap automatically tags keywords to properties that are listed; sellers can further refine the keywords or add more manually.

Up-to-date map With OneMap support, MOGUL.sg’s map is always up-to-date with the latest building, address and road information.

Property concierge A selected group of property agents in MOGUL.sg’s agent network forms the property concierge team. They personally filter through messages to ensure that spam does not reach home buyers and sellers alike, as well as recommend properties to potential buyers based on their keyword searches. One property concierge communicates with the home owner as the single point of contact.

To try out MOGUL.sg, please visit https://www.mogul.sg/.  You can also follow MOGUL.sg on Facebook and Instagram

* Information and pictures courtesy of MOGUL.sg and GLOO PR *

Tired, rested and back striving forward

I was burnt out, this is not about me ranting, for me, this is to acknowledge and tell myself that such things happen from time to time. The only solution is to pick yourself up from the fall and continue striving forward in the journey that you started.

For a few days, I couldn’t get my articles/things done, it was just sitting there. I decided that taking a break for a day is needed. Not many people know about the difficulties, struggles, stress and pressure of running a business (small sole proprietorship), this doesn’t help when friends asked about you with a kind and concerned heart but using a very lousy mouth and evil tongue.

Taking photographs that is totally leisure, fun and free is a theraphy for me, I continued taking photographs with my Canon EOS M50 mirrorless camera review set, this helped me to get myself back on my feet again.

After attending a networking session, I had a good chat with the people there. While walking to the MRT station, I saw a cityscape scenery that I took for granted since I stay in Singapore and I have regularly seen this whenever I passed by it.

This is like “a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”, there might be a new opportunity is coming up, I have to continue striving in this journey ahead.

While I had some down time a few days back, I received a mention in a comment on Instagram, I checked out the post and the description. Yes, I shot the photos a few months back at Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand. However, I was touched and grateful by the words shared inside this instagram post by Tiffany Yong ???and Peps Goh ???, a testimonial to my unglamorous behind the scenes work during our recent trip to Chiang Mai – https://www.instagram.com/p/BjKRa4CAJIM/

Getting my energy level up and recharged, I am going to continue striving forward in my adventure.

Impact Hub Singapore partners Google for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs and start-up companies in Singapore or planning to setup in Singapore, this would be of great news and of great interest to you. Impact Hub Singapore, the largest co-working and entrepreneur building community, recently announced its partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs, becoming the company’s first tech hub partner in Southeast Asia.

I visited Impact Hub Singapore once, when I attended Huawei Founders Friday, listening to Scott Bales a leading digital and innovation executive sharing on driving innovation. It was a great sharing session, knowledge and tips shared would be applicable for me as I embarked on my photography business and the challenges that I am facing!

Collaboration, partnerships and networking with different professionals and expertise from different industries, helping each other to grow and succeed, this is the modern era that we are living in and how we should and must do business, growth, change, innovation and development in the new IoT/digital/social media era ahead.

Let me share more key information and details with my readers here from the press release information:

Impact Hub Singapore is home to a vibrant entrepreneurial community with a strong track record in supporting companies as they build and scale their businesses. Member startups have raised more than $180 million USD ($250 million SGD) since Impact Hub Singapore opened it’s doors. Impact Hub Singapore comprises more than 650 entrepreneurs, professionals and freelancers, and has partnerships with 50 corporate, university and government-linked organisations. The five year-old Impact Hub is home to Singapore’s largest community of creatives, entrepreneurs, and technologists. Impact Hub Singapore takes a holistic approach to encouraging startups by providing everything from co-working space to resources and tools early stage businesses need to grow.

As members of the Google for Entrepreneurs network, Impact Hub Singapore and the greater Singapore startup community will have access to new resources including training and mentorship opportunities and access to Google programs and products including:

  • Google for Entrepreneurs global programs: Hubbers can now apply to the incredible programs Google runs for entrepreneurs, including Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange, a series of week-long, vertically-specific global immersion programs aimed at helping startups gain access into new markets and insights, and Google Demo Day an event that brings together a diverse group of startups from around the world to showcase their technology and meet top investors and mentors in Silicon Valley.
  • A global network: Hubbers will join 50 other organizations with a global footprint in more than 135 countries, including six Campuses, which are Google-owned and operated spaces for entrepreneurs. Impact Hub members are now connected to the Google for Entrepreneurs Passport program, which allows members to access more than 20 Google partner spaces the world over, from Seoul to San Francisco.
  • Google resources: Relevant startups will be eligible for Google product offers and have access to local and international mentorship from Google advisors.

In addition to all of these great offerings from Google for Entrepreneurs, Impact Hub Singapore, inspired by Google’s Campus’, will also start providing more opportunities for collaboration:

  • 30 new coworking seats: From August onwards, Impact Hub Singapore will open 30 free coworking seats per day in the coworking area be even more inclusive and welcoming to the tech-curious as well as to current and aspiring entrepreneurs.

* Information courtesy of Redhill Communications and Impact Hub Singapore *

Touche – World’s 1st Biometric Loyalty & Payment Solution

Imagine one day in the very near future, you are out dining with your friends, having a great time at the restaurant, awesome food, drinks and company. At the end of dinner gathering, you called for the bill.

The staff at the restaurant asked “Would you like to pay for the bill just by the touche of your fingers?”. You replied, “Yes, sure!” The staff brings out a small tablet device, showing you the total bill to confirm that it is verified and correct before you place your fingers to process the payment. The next moment, you received an email informing you of your confirmed bill payment at the restaurant.

Is this possible? Yes, it is now possible, a fintech product made in Singapore, making her debut and official appearance recently and I had the opportunity to view it for the first time and had a short hands on experience on the process and payment, from a customer perspective.

Let me introduce Touche, the world’s full fledged biometric loyalty and payment solution platform –

“ … Touché is proud to present the world’s first biometric loyalty and payment platform, which is activated by just your fingers. In Singapore, within a span of three months, 150 restaurants, 15 local hotels and 5 private social clubs have shown interest in implementing this solution. The homegrown company aims to foray into Japan, with a market size in excess of US$200 million.

“Touché is a world first. It is not a better mousetrap, but a brand-new idea,” says Sahba Saint-Claire, CEO of Touché. “At its core, it aims to make people’s lives easier by removing the need to carry things such as credit cards, loyalty and membership cards, vouchers, coupons, etc. while ensuring they get all the benefits to which they are entitled. You register on Touché once at anywhere that offers the service and you can use it globally.” … “ 

(Via Press Release information)

I would like to share some of my personal views from both sides, an end user/customer and a business perspective

For end user/customer

This Touche biometric loyalty and payment platform is probably going towards a boom and rise in convenient, fast cashless and card-less payment system in the near future. With the proposed integration of loyalty rewards program in the near future, the customer payment and rewards experience would be enhanced in this area in the future (in my personal humble opinion).

Security and privacy are definitely concerns by the end users/customers when using the Touche platform. I had these questions at the back of my mind too when I attended their presentation. From their presentation, I am satisfied and glad to hear from them on the aspects of security and privacy procedures in place for the Touche platform.

For a business entity

I worked in the retail and hospitality industries previously, therefore, I had the experiences of the payment system commonly used, the machines for the electronic funds payment e.g. NETS, VISA, MasterCard, Diners, AMEX, JCB. I understood and knew about the costs involved in those machines.

While I do not have the costs and numbers from the business operation side of the Touche system, my personal view is that adopting the Touche platform device is definitely a worthy consideration, not just in terms of cost savings, there would be time savings (e.g. from the service staff printing out the bill, brining it to you, take your credit card, process the payment and back to you for your signature) and administrative time (change the roll of paper, change the ink cartridge)

The integration of this fintech with the entity’s own loyalty/reward system might be a good stepping stone for growing customer relationship management system, rewards and loyalty points system.

If you are in the hotel, hospitality, food and beverage industries, take a look at the Touche platform, have a chat with them.

The following information below were provided via the press release information, that explained my thoughts on Touche –

Efficient Loyalty and Payment through A Simple Device, Made in Singapore

Made in Singapore, the hardware of Touché is an elegant rectangular device that is certified and capable of multiple payment options including a magnetic stripe reader, chip reader, and 2.2-inch (diagonal measurement) biometric sensor with the highest resolution in the market to detect two fingers for efficient payments. Most customers will choose to pay with just two fingers after a simple registration, but they may also choose to pay with their physical credit cards. The device works over a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.

Convenience is key

You will no longer need to carry anything around when shopping — this includes your cards, phones, vouchers or wallets! Look forward to fast transactions, as there is no need to look for your payment or loyalty cards, count dollar notes or wait for paper receipts and signatures to be processed. Imagine checking your bill on the device, placing your fingers on the Touché device and you’re out of the restaurant in just a few minutes. You will then receive an email detailing your experience. No more paper!

Security is at the core of Touché

The company’s brainchild scans any two of your fingers to extract around 40 to 45 specific points of each fingerprint. It does not store images of your fingerprints. The information is encrypted on a cloud system. It is virtually impossible to create a replica of your fingerprints with this information. The anti-spoofing and live detection technology at Touché also ensures that the fingerprints are real. Credit card information is tokenised, and the card details are not stored in the database. No information is stored on the device, and it communicates with the server using the highest encryption levels to protect our users’ privacy.

With one simple registration, users can use the system globally

The first time you visit a merchant, you can pay with your credit card and use Touché’s solution to link the card to your fingers. You then update your particulars online, and even add your profile picture! For subsequent visits to any merchant that uses Touché, there is no need for further registration, and you can even choose between multiple credit cards in your Touché wallet to make payment.

Smart shopping and increased savings with Touché

The Touché wallet offers you more than just payment methods. Wherever you go, your favourite offers, loyalty programmes, vouchers, coupons and memberships follow. Access to your shopping or dining experiences and expenditure history is readily available via the Touché journal. Touché ensures that your entitlements are applied automatically at every interaction. You will also be notified of the loyalty benefits or credit card promotional offers at one glance, making it easier for you to choose your preferred payment method for greater savings.

Supercharging businesses with a gentle touch

For businesses, this platform is time saving and efficient. It adapts to existing technology and process environments, so integration is a cinch. It can be utilised to create long-term relationships with their customers. They can tailor loyalty programmes and create unique offers for different customers. Businesses can also curate data about their customers, and the insights can be used to create moments that wow at every turn.

(Press Release Information)

Personally, in my personal humble opinion, I believe this Touche platform has a huge growth and expansion potential in the whole world. If the opportunity arises in the future, I hope that I can write and share more on both sides of the story, customer/end user and business.

I would like to thank Touche and Brand Cellar for the invitation to Touche launch event in Singapore.

* Photos and information courtesy of Touche and Brand Cellar *

Echelon Asia Summit 2016

Echelon Asia Summit took place on 15th and 16 June 2016 at the Singapore Expo, I was invited by my friends from the public relations agency, SPRG, to attend the two days summit and I was glad that I attended this event. This post comes a bit late and I apologise for the delay in sharing my thoughts and feelings from attending Echelon Asia Summit 2016.

Echelon Asia Summit 2016 is a two-day summit that brings over 5,000 top-tier digital professionals and entrepreneurs, to create and expand their opportunities in the various fields such as technology, business and investments across Asia.

It was an eye-opener for me to know more about start ups from various industries and not just technology start ups. Although I am a photographer, I am also interested in financial industry, technology, small medium enterprise (SME), fin-tech, just to name a few of them. Having attended Canon EXPO 2016 Shanghai, learning and understanding how a world famous brand brings their products and services across the world, I am able to learn and understand from the other end of the spectrum, the start ups and SME on how they plan to grow their business and growth. I visited Echelon Asia Summit 2016 as an attendee, my first time visiting an event of this nature.

The list of exhibitors present at Echelon Asia Summit 2016 were interesting and diverse, it’s not just technology start ups. There were a number of key speeches and sharing on the Future Stage, Build/Reach Stage, Create Stage and Community Lounge. The topics and agenda that I want to listen and relate a lot to were at the Future Stage. Over the two days, I had learned some great insights and knowledge from the sharing by the panel of speakers in their respective industry. Although I wasn’t able to visit all the exhibitors present there, I saw a few exhibitors that caught my attention –

FOMO Photo Booth by FOMO Digital Pte Ltd

Being a photographer myself, I can’t do and cover everything at major events if they are big scale and the requirements include photo booth. FOMO Photo Booth caught my attention and if the opportunity to collaborate together arises, I would have a chat with them!

Cafebond

A coffee lover myself, I saw their booth and went up to know more about their coffee business. They are bringing in Melbourne’s best coffee to Singapore and you can order coffee online and ship it over to your place. This is something that I would check out one day!

TripInsiders

This is something that suits me perfectly what I love to do, travel and photography. You can become an Insider to bring travelers from all around the world in your city and you can get paid too for your time! Becoming an Insider might just be the job that slots in between my photography assignments and marketing work for Wills & Wills.

Grab showcasing Grab For Work

Grab has a pretty big booth at Echelon Asia Summit 2016, you will see definitely see them when you are inside the Singapore Expo Hall. I read about their story and origins before on how they were founded, grown and transformed over time. I had a good chat with one of their guys there during Echelon Asia Summit 2016, Grab For Work is a great initiative for companies that have staff that are on the move and have to claim transport allowances. If I am currently working in a job that needs to do transport claims, I would use Grab For Work.

During the two days of Echelon Asia Summit 2016, the start ups are not just confined to technology industry, they have expanded into other industries such as F&B, travel, photography and financial. It was a great pleasure, a wonderful learning experience for me to attend Echelon Asia Summit 2016, there is always something new to learn from people from all walks of life and industries.

Thank you e27 and SPRG for the invitation to Echelon Asia Summit 2016!