Singapore has long been known as the people’s gateway to the wealth of resources Asia has to offer. We were, and still are, the third-richest country in the world. We have ample human capital, are a financial hub, and house top-notch universities that school effective individuals for the future.
The ripple effect of our affluence in both material wealth and knowledge has seeped into the technology and startup industry locally. Now, we have streams of incubators and venture firms around town — NUS Enterprise, NTUitive, Jungle Ventures and Clearbridge Accelerators, just to name a few. And as brave entrepreneurs take the plunge to solve issues facing our city and Southeast Asia, they have also been helping to shape Singapore as a growing tech hub.
That said, Singapore’s startup industry has yet to be internationally recognized. But we are getting there, and this year, two local companies will be representing us in Austin, Texas, at the prestigious South by Southwest festival in March. Besides the popular music and film fare, the festival is also an annual event for the world to find out about technological breakthroughs that have happened internationally. Last year, there were 32,798 participants at its interactive conference, where the tech and gaming events take place. That’s a potential 30,000 eyes on what Singapore can bring.
This year, we get to see two Singaporean startups take to the world stage to showcase our innovation and risk-taking senses.
CreoPop has made “the world’s first 3D pen with cool ink”, a mobile 3D pen for the everyday consumer that is light, affordable, and safe-to-use. Unlike the 3Doodler, the pen doesn’t melt plastic, but produces solidified photopolymers when you draw. This means that it is safe to be in contact with, especially for young children.
They have creatively made different kinds of ink available as well: glow-in-the-dark ink for those who want to imagine your own galaxy, body paint ink for your next tribal party, and even an elastic ink if you want to… enlarge that dinosaur and the journey back to your childhood you just made. No more expensive and bulky 3D printers. CreoPop has brought the fun to us in such a compact and portable way.
For its efforts, CreoPop has been shortlisted as one of 48 finalists in this year’s SXSW accelerator competition. They were chosen out of 500 applicants, and are one of the nominees in the Innovative World Technologies category.
The other company representing Singapore at this year’s SXSW interactive conference is CoinPip. Bitcoin usage is still rare in Asian countries, but CoinPip hopes to change that. It aims to make our transactions safer and hassle-free, since bitcoin money can be sent around the world and withdrawn in a local currency.
CoinPip’s main operations are in Singapore and Hong Kong, but users are also allowed to transact money to and from the UK, Indonesia, Australia, and Kenya. The company also has plans to enter the U.S. and Latin American market. This was one of the reasons why Infocomm Investments — the investment branch of the Infocomm Development Authority — decided to sponsor CoinPip’s trip to the prestigious event. It definitely seems as though CoinPip is set to amplify Singapore’s status as a financial capital, even virtually.
With these two great startups putting the Red Dot on the radar, here’s hoping for more remarkable ideas and firms to make us world-famous as a gateway to the tech future as well.
What other companies do you know about that is putting Singapore on the map for their creativity and innovation in the tech world?