Incubator boost for local entrepreneurs
After just three months in an incubator programme at DreamIt Ventures in Philadelphia, Mr Anthony Chow had learnt and experienced enough for him to return to Singapore and set up his own company.
Enter Igloohome, a Singapore start-up established in July 2015 that solved a problem faced by homesharing services such as Airbnb by developing smart locks that can be accessed through PIN codes or Bluetooth.
Mr Chow, 30, set up the company with two co-founders and today, Igloohome has clients in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China and Japan, and is eyeing a move into the American market.
The trio gained much from their time at DreamIt Ventures and their experience is in line with the recommendation made by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) encouraging local companies and Institutes of Higher Learning to link up with overseas partners in major innovation hubs to further breed entrepreneurial talent here.
Mr Chow, 30, is Igloohome's chief executive officer.
He told The New Paper yesterday that they had joined the incubator - a collaborative programme to help new start-ups succeed - in the United States after winning an innovation challenge in 2015.
"The incubator connects you with so many networks, and that allows you build up products in the most cost efficient way," he said.
"You have people who are willing to work with start-ups, potential customers, and people who can help you develop your product. You can develop and test it out quickly."
Mr Inian Parameshwaran, 24, also benefited from an overseas incubator programme.
With co-founder Murali Srirangam Ramanujam, he runs Dexecure, which builds cutting-edge browser features for developers to build a fast-performing website.
Last June, the duo went to Silicon Valley for two months under a fellowship programme by Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley business incubator.
Mr Inian said: "Working alongside many other start-ups was a great experience. Chances are that if you are facing a problem, someone else would have encountered it too and can offer you solutions.
"We also learnt how to pitch our services in a way that we could get traction from developers. We learnt more than just building a product, but running a business as a whole."
The experience at Y Combinator also gave Mr Inian a global perspective for his business, allowing him to project which country is best suited for his product.
Mr Chow has enjoyed similar benefits from his experience in the incubator programme at DreamIt Ventures.
"Cross market learning and being part of such an ecosystem allows you to train your mind to think in a different way and opens you up to so many opportunities.
"I think (the CFE's recommendations) will benefit Singaporeans if more are given such opportunities," he said.