Fame has found 19-year-old student Gian Javelona. Soon after launching PUP Mobile Portal, the first mobile app for a school in the Philippines, he transformed from just another enthusiastic app developer, very common these days, into the latest talking point on national news.
The computer engineering management student appeared as a guest on the ABS-CBN News Channel, the CNN of the Philippines, to talk about his app. TV5, a major television channel in the country, has interviewed him as well. His achievement brought great pride to his college, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. A banner even hangs on the entry gate just outside Gian’s campus, proclaiming, “we are proud of you.”
Score one for the country’s tech startup scene. Ever since a bevy of funds, expertise, events, and passion were injected into the ecosystem this year, Filipino entrepreneurs have increasingly been put into the national spotlight. The media attention will certainly help galvanize a nation that is trying to establish itself as a rising tech startup powerhouse (read: The Philippine startup scene: Asia’s best kept secret?). Read more
Mig33, a social entertainment platform company headquartered in Singapore, has welcomed a new executive director, serial entrepreneur Andy Zain. He joined mig33 in August. Read more
RichMediaAds is intended to be simple to use.
Malaysian serial entrepreneur Alvin Koay wants to stand up for the little guy. His first tech venture, MobileApps, strove to help developers rise above the din and get discovered through interactive ads.
Now, with his new startup RichMediaAds, a self-serve ad creation platform, he hopes to enable anyone to make ads that are more clickable than even professionally made ones.
Alvin’s bet is that by turning ads into actionable and interactive mini-websites, advertisers can generate far more bang for their buck while publishers can charge higher rates.
So just how are the ads interactive? Here’s a laundry list: It can play videos, conduct a poll, make reservations, redeem a special offer, and buy stuff. And that’s just a sampling.
The goal is to dramatically lift banner ads from being the bane of the Internet and turn them into the next shiny thing. As users already know, banner ads are often an annoyance to readers and ineffective for publishers, generating a dismal 0.09% click-through rate. Read more
Sunny(second from left) with his Imagine Cup teammates in 2011.
The first time I met Satrughan Kumar Singh — or Sunny, as he prefers to be called — I was surprised by his height. Towering almost a head above me (I’m about 178 cm), he greeted me with an easy smile as I looked up to meet his gaze. We headed to a nearby coffeeshop for lunch, seeking refuge from the scorching Singapore heat.
Sunny Singh stands tall in many ways. A two-time Microsoft Imagine Cup winner in Singapore, he represented the country in the Grand Finals in Poland in 2010 and then in New York in 2011. The Temasek Polytechnic alumnus is excited about solving problems with technology. To that end, he has turned his idea from the student technology competition into a startup called Eynteract Labs.
As we settled down, Sunny sketched out his days as an Imagine Cup participant, how it fueled his passion for entrepreneurship and public speaking, and his current predicament — a military stint that able-bodied Singapore males must serve. He took only occasional pauses to eat his lunch.
Entrepreneurs suffer in the short-term so that they might enjoy a pay-off in the future. For Aaron Hee, founder of Malaysia-based startup ChopChop, that reality takes on an extra dimension.
Recently, he gave up his investment banking scholarship, which comes with a 5-year bond, to pursue his dream of becoming a first-time entrepreneur. That decision has a hefty price — a penalty fee of RM 400,000 (USD 130,000), borne by his parents at first, which he will repay later.
“It wasn’t a pleasant experience to make this decision… the least I could do is be really appreciative for the sacrifices my parents have made,” he told SGE in an email interview. Read more
If you’re using a mobile banking app in Singapore to review your finances, chances are, it is made by Tagit. Started by serial entrepreneur Navtej Singh in 2004, Tagit is a mobile solutions company specializing in mobile banking apps.
While it struggled early on for being ahead of time, Tagit is now working with many of the leading banks in Asia.
Their extensive portfolio includes banking apps for DBS, UOB, MayBank and Standard Chartered in Singapore, Commonwealth Bank and CIMB in Indonesia, Vietcom Bank in Vietnam, Citibank in India, CBQ in Qatar, and RBC in Canada. In Kuwait, they have developed a mobile payment aggregator app in collaboration with a local partner.
This is just the beginning. Besides signing up more banks as customers, Tagit plans to go full-force into the mobile payments space by creating apps that aggregates merchants and lets users easily pay for their services. It is also working on an open platform to let developers build apps using their SDK. Read more
With the advent of social media, consumers could be having a bigger say about your company’s brand than ever before, and they’re doing a better job of popularizing your brand better than your marketers do. These are just some insights from Martin Lindstrom, a branding guru and author who has worked with clients like Microsoft, Ericsson, Visa, Mercedes-Benz, and Disney.
Present in Singapore for a one-day Brandwashed Symposium happening on 10th September, the 2009 recipient of TIME Magazine’s ‘World’s 100 Most Influential People’ will share more on how the branding landscape is changing with the times and how marketers and entrepreneurs can take advantage of the latest trends in consumer behavior and technology.
His thoughts on consumer psychology are gleaned from a $3 million global research study, which involved multiple neuroscience studies, a 3 month long ‘reality show’ experiment, hundreds of focus group interviews, and thousands of consumer interviews.
We took the opportunity to ask him some questions related to marketing and branding, and here’s what he has to say. Read more
17-year-old Lachy Groom knows a thing or two about running full-fledged, online businesses. At 11-years-old, he started learning to code in HTML and CSS, and by the age of 13, he founded PSDtoWP, a company that turned PhotoShop files into WordPress pages. The company was sold nine months later.
Next, he started PAGGStack.com, a website that sells nutritional supplements to customers around the world. Again, he sold the company in months. By the age of 15, Lachy was already onto his third online business, iPadCaseFinder. Launched in 2010, the site lets users search for iPad cases and find out where to buy them. The website was successfully acquired.
He then moved on to his next two ideas, which he still owns today. The first is Cardnap, which is a site for visitors to buy and resell discount gift cards. The second one is TheWP.co, which builds WordPress sites from scratch and also offers Photoshop file to WordPress conversion.
Lachy now has his eyes set on Silicon Valley. He has visited regularly to absorb the culture and interacting with entrepreneurs. He has also kept a keen eye on Dev Bootcamp, a startup that turns total noobs into novice web developers in 10 weeks. Passionate about education, he hopes to one day start a company in the industry.
But one thing stands in his way. Read more
Love is complex, so much so that thousands of movies have been made and songs composed about it. Our fascination with love stretches back all the way to Shakespeare and his star-crossed lovers. A lot of drama is involved.
Which is why when you talk about mixing love and entrepreneurship, red flags are raised. What happens if the couple breaks up? What if they argue or stop getting along? What if emotions get in the way of rational decision making?
Investors too are typically wary of funding romantically involved co-founders of every permutation. The risks are too great. But that has not stopped some couples from venturing out and starting their own enterprises. I speak to three such teams to find out what they have to say. Read more
Meng (front) gives a talk at the National Library. Next to him is cartoonist Colin Goh.
Chade-Meng Tan, Google employee #107, smiled the moment he spotted the SGE team at the lobby of Orchard Parksuites, a stately service residence located in the heart of Orchard Road in Singapore.
Although here on holiday to visit family and friends, the jovial “zen master of Google” had been giving talks about his latest book, “Search Inside Yourself”, which he hopes will bring about the conditions for world peace.
Wearing a slightly faded Google Earth T-shirt, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) alumnus seemed at ease while talking in an odd mix of Singlish and American twang. He explained the intricate workings of the brain, shared stories about Buddha to illustrate insights, and cracked jokes whenever he could.
Meng is an atypical Singaporean. When Google went public, he became multi-millionaire rich. His official job title, Jolly Good Fellow, started as a joke. But he stayed on at the company, transitioning from an engineer into the Head of Personal Growth at GoogleEDU, the search giant’s workforce development program. Read more