AI at your service: 10 more tools you need to know other than ChatGPT

lumen5 chatgpt openai synthesia

Far from simply being just a “viral sensation”, artificial Intelligence (AI) has truly revolutionised the way we work and interact with technology these past couple of months.

While ChatGPT has undeniably captured the spotlight with its remarkable conversational abilities, the AI landscape is vast. There are numerous other powerful tools that are quietly reshaping industries, amplifying human potential, and bringing about meaningful advancements in various fields.

From cutting-edge image generative platforms to legal contract analysers, these AI tools embody the potential of these intelligent machines, enabling us to tackle complex challenges with greater efficiency, accuracy, and creativity.

Whether you’re a tech enthusiast, a professional seeking productivity gains, or just simply curious about the latest AI breakthroughs, this list brings you an array of helpful AI tools that can take the heavy work off your hands and simplify various tasks.


Salvador Dalí robotic face
Vibrant portrait painting of Salvador Dalí with a robotic half face / Image Credit: OpenAI

Named after the artist Salvador Dalí and Pixar character Wall-E, DALL-E is another AI model developed by OpenAI. DALL-E was unveiled in a blog post by OpenAI in January 2021, and has been trained specifically to generate images from textual descriptions.

Unlike previous image generation models that typically manipulate existing images, DALL-E has the ability to create entirely new images based on textual prompts inputted by users. It can generate highly detailed and coherent images of novel objects, scenes, and concepts that may not exist in reality.

According to OpenAI, users retain ownership rights over images generated by the AI tool, which grants them the freedom to sell, reproduce, and utilise the images for merchandising purposes.

In April 2022, OpenAI released DALL-E 2, an improved version of the original DALL-E, designed to generate more realistic images at “four times higher resolutions” that “can combine concepts, attributes, and styles”.

The new and improved DALL-E 2 has been integrated by Microsoft-backed Open AI into a suite of other AI tools, notably the Bing search engine.

2. Synthesia

Synthesia/ Image Credit: Screen grab by Vulcan Post

Utilised by over 50,000 companies worldwide including Johnson&Johnson and Singapore’s Branding and Marketing agency, Synthesi3. Rationale

Rationale AI
Rationale / Image Credit: Screen grab by Vulcan Post

Rationale is a decision-making AI tool designed to assist business owners, managers, and individuals in making informed and rational decisions.

To utilise Rationale effectively, you can simply input your pending decision or indecisive options onto the platform. Rationale’s AI algorithms will then analyse the provided information and generate a comprehensive list of pros and cons associated with each option.

Beyond just a simple pros and cons analysis, the AI tool goes above and beyond by providing a SWOT analysis, which enables you to identify internal strengths and weaknesses within your options, as well as external opportunities and threats that may impact your decision.

It also offers a multi-criteria analysis, which can help you compare and weigh your options based on different parameters, such as cost, time, and feasibility, as well as a causal chain analysis that can aid in understanding the potential impacts of your choices.

The best part? All of these are done in less than 10 seconds, guiding you to make the best possible choice.

4. Lumen5

Image Credit: Lumen5

Another video generation platform, Lumen5, utilises AI and automation to transform text-based content into engaging videos.

Launched in 2017, it is designed to help individuals and businesses easily create professional-looking videos for various purposes, including marketing, social media, and presentations, among others.

Once a user uploads written content onto the platform, Lumen5 analyses this content and automatically selects relevant images, video clips, and background music to accompany the text.

It also offers a range of customisation options, allowing users to adjust the visuals, add their own media files, and customise the video’s style, fonts, and colours. All of this can be done with just a few clicks on its simple drag-and-drop interface.

After the AI tool generates the video content, users can subsequently download the video, or upload it to social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Lumen5 optimises the video for the specific platform, ensuring compatibility and optimal viewing experience.

To date, Lumen5 has aided multiple companies in creating over 10 million videos across every industry, including the likes of KPMG and Mitsubishi.


Image Credit: AIVA

AIVA, which stands for “Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist”, is an AI-powered music composition tool that allows users to generate original music to accompany various media content including videos, podcasts, and games, among others.

Trained on a vast dataset of musical compositions from various genres and styles, AIVA analyses patterns, structures, and musical elements to learn and understand the principles of music composition in order to compose music based on different inputs from users.

For example, users can provide instructions on the desired mode, tempo and style of the soundtrack, and AIVA’s AI algorithm will compose a unique piece of music accordingly.

The music composition tool also allows users to further customise and refine the music it generates by giving them the option to modify sections, adjust melodies, change instrumentation, as well as make other adjustments to fit their specific needs or preferences.

However, it’s worth noting that the generated music’s copyright goes to AIVA as long as you’re subscribed to its free or standard subscription. If you choose to upgrade to a pro membership, you will obtain the copyright for the music compositions.


Image Credit: LALAL.AI

LALAL.AI is an AI audio editing tool that focuses on vocal track and music source separation and removal.

The AI tool is designed to isolate vocals from music tracks, allowing users to create karaoke versions of songs, remove vocals for remixing purposes, or extract instrumental tracks for various creative applications.

Aside from vocals, LALAL.AI can also extract musical instruments, including drums, guitars, pianos, and synthesisers from various tracks.

To do this, LALAL.AI’s algorithm applies sophisticated techniques to enhance the separation of vocals from the background music, such as isolating the frequency range associated with the desired human voice or instrument.

Most recently, the company behind LALAL.AI, Omnisale GmbH, introduced Voice Cleaner, a noise cancellation solution that removes background music, mic rumble, vocal plosives, and many other types of extraneous noises from video and audio recordings. This powerful addition allows content creators, podcasters, and professionals to produce cleaner, more professional-grade recordings with ease.

7. Trevor AI

Trevor AI
Trevor AI/ Image Credit: Screen grab by Vulcan Post

Trevor AI is a daily planning app and time management assistant that uses “time blocking” to help you schedule tasks between your to-do lists and calendar in real-time.

Time blocking is a time management technique used by prominent individuals such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner, without interruptions.

Trevor AI practically acts as your personal secretary by helping you organise and prioritise projects and tasks. It syncs with your Outlook or Google Calendar, helping you to “visually see the full picture of your daily plans”.

Alternatively, you have the option to utilise Trevor AI’s native to-do list and calendar, tailored to meet your organisational preferences.

Through Trevor AI’s real-time synchronisation, any changes you make are instantly reflected in both your to-do list and calendar. This ensures that you remain fully aware of your upcoming commitments while providing the flexibility to adapt and optimise your schedule on the go.

8. Beautiful.ai

Beautiful.ai/ Image Credit: Screen grab by Vulcan Post

Beautiful.ai is a cloud-based presentation software that aims to simplify the process and time taken to create visually appealing and professional presentations.

Users can choose from a wide range of pre-designed templates tailored for different types of presentations, such as business pitches, marketing reports, and educational presentations, among others. These templates offer a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing design, with pre-defined layouts, fonts, colours, and graphics that can be customised to suit individual preferences.

The software also incorporates intelligent automation features, such as Smart Slide technology, which dynamically adjusts the layout and formatting of slides based on the content provided. This feature ensures that the presentation maintains a consistent and professional look while saving users time and effort in manual formatting.

In January this year, Beautiful.ai launched DesignerBot, a generative AI tool designed to automate presentation creation and custom image generation. DesignerBot generates fully realised presentations, including appropriate text, layouts, photos, icons and design, based on one simple text prompt.

In fact, it can even design up to 20 presentation slides based on this one prompt. Today, Beautiful.ai is the “secret weapon” for teams in companies such as Tesla and Google.

9. Legal Robot

Legal Robot
Legal Robot/ Image Credit: Screen grab by Vulcan Post

Legal Robot is an up-and-coming AI tool that utilises machine learning to automatically translate complex and confusing legal language, often referred to as “legalese”, into clear and easily understandable terms that can be comprehended by anyone.

It serves a dual purpose — aiding laypeople in ensuring their comprehension of legal documents, as well as assisting legal professionals in writing contracts and documents that are accessible to a wide audience.

Aside from translating confusing legalese, the tool is also able to analyse contracts by automatically extracting important terms as well as identifying problems with legal styles, definitions, and potentially risky language, among other features.

However, Legal Robot enforces that it does not provide legal advice, which requires careful analysis of the law and its specific applications to given situations. Rather, it generates information through automated analysis of your legal documents in relation to other legal documents and case law.

10. Fireflies.ai

Fireflies.ai meeting
Image Credit: Fireflies.ai

Founded in 2016, Fireflies.ai is an AI-powered meeting transcription and collaboration platform that uses automatic speech recognition (ASR) and advanced natural language processing (NLP) technologies to transcribe and take detailed notes during meetings.

The AI tool integrates with various communication platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Slack, among others. Users can connect their accounts to Fireflies.ai, allowing the AI tool to automatically join scheduled meetings, record audio, and generate accurate transcripts. These transcripts are then made available for review, editing, and sharing.

The platform also offers features like searchable transcripts where users can search for specific keywords or topics within meeting transcripts, speaker identification, action items tracking, and the ability to share and collaborate on meeting summaries.

Overall, Fireflies.ai aims to streamline and enhance the productivity of meetings by providing accurate and accessible meeting transcripts.

Featured Image Credit: Lumen5/ Synthesia/ OpenAI

Also Read: How this S’pore AI startup is transforming the marketing sector by automating content creation

This is how Netflix subscriptions in M’sia will change after the password-sharing crackdown

As Netflix cracks down on its password sharing policies worldwide, Malaysian users have begun receiving alerts from the platform outlining the policy.

“A Netflix account is for use by one household,” Netflix shared in a May 24 update to local users.

“Everyone living in that household can use Netflix wherever they are—at home, on the go, on holiday—and take advantage of new features like Transfer Profile and Manage Access and Devices.”

An email sent out to Malaysian Netflix users

When using Netflix on a TV, Malaysian users will now be prompted to confirm whether the TV is part of their Netflix Household.

Breaking down the Netflix Household

According to an FAQ on Netflix’s website, Netflix Household is a collection of the devices connected to the internet at the main place (primary WiFi) you watch Netflix on.

A Netflix Household must be set using a TV device. Meanwhile, all other devices that use your Netflix account on the same internet connection as that TV will automatically be added to that Netflix Household.

Users who don’t have a TV or don’t use it for their Netflix won’t need to set up a Netflix Household. However, Netflix did not clarify whether this means it will automatically set one up for you.

It’s believed that you’ll have to be connected to the primary WiFi once every month (31 days) to ensure you’re still a trusted device of the Netflix Household. 

Adding on to the plan

Standard subscribers (who pay RM45/month)  can have the option to add one extra member who doesn’t live with you, while Premium subscribers (who pay RM55/month) can add up to two. It costs RM13/month per extra member.

This means Standard subscribers who want an extra member will be paying RM58/month. Premium subscribers can pay RM68/month for an extra member or RM81/month for two extra members.  

The existing profiles on your account won’t change, and will continue to be accessible to those in the Netflix Household. 

The extra member will be given their own account and password, but the RM13 fee will be paid by the main account holder who invited them to join.

This extra member will only get one profile. They can either retain their existing profile, or make a new one. They can enjoy Netflix’s service on any device, but only on one device at a time.

They will also get the same video and audio quality as the subscriber who added them.

Extra members must be at least 18 years old, and their accounts must be activated in the same country associated with the account owner’s.

The RM13/month price is cheaper than buying a new account on the lower two tiers, which would be RM17/month for the Mobile plan (watch on mobile and tablet only), or RM28/month for the Basic plan.

Subscribers can now visit their Account page to buy an extra member slot. You can cancel the slot at any time, and the extra member can continue to use Netflix until the end of the billing period.

The end of Netflix’s era?

With this new Netflix policy, Malaysians may now turn to various alternatives such as Prime Video or Disney+Hotstar, amongst other entertainment options. 

Will this crackdown see a drop in memberships for Netflix in Malaysia, or will users continue to stay loyal to the platform to consume its content?

Seeing that this comes at a time when Amazon’s Prime Video has just announced that it will be investing in Malaysian content, including original local creations, could we be witnessing the end of Netflix’s dominance as a streaming service here in Malaysia? 

  • Learn more about Netflix here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about entertainment here.

Also Read: Role-play as Friends characters & gossip over endless coffee at this coworking pop-up in KL

Pros and Cons: Crypto Gambling

Gambling on the internet is a pastime that is enjoyed by more people than ever in their spare time. That applies to the US and also to much of the rest of the world.

This fact is firmly underlined by the current global worth of the combined online gambling industry.  Valued at $63.5 billion by the end of last year, that valuation is expected to rise a further 11.7% between now and 2030.

All of the different segments of the industry, from online casinos to bingo gaming and sports betting, have their dedicated fans. Furthermore, the various parts of it are proving adept at absorbing other trends within society, such as the rising interest in cryptocurrencies.

Online Gambling Growth

The growth in online gambling is being fueled by different things. Among these are: the rising interest in online pastimes among younger people, the greater convenience it offers and the choice of games.

That last one is important, as the games appeal to different people. Whereas casino games like poker have a predominantly male audience, the majority of those playing bingo on the internet are women. The ability to reach multiple demographics has helped the online gambling industry achieve ever greater market penetration.

There are a variety of gambling providers available online to suit everyone, for those looking for online casino games can head to casino providers, those who are looking to play online bingo can find a range of bingo sites and those wishing to place a sports bet can head to a sportsbook.

One knock-on effect of the rise in gambling online is that more financial transactions must also be carried out digitally. That ties the industry in with the emergent cryptocurrency one and crypto payments are already being permitted at some online gambling sites.

There are both plus and minus points to that development though. It is worth looking at each in a bit more detail, as crypto seems set to become more widely adopted within the industry over the next few years.


  • Security

One of the biggest arguments in favor of people being able to use cryptocurrencies when gambling online is that they provide total data security. A transaction involving crypto cannot be changed or reversed, with a record of them stored on a decentralized public ledger.

That makes both fraud and hacking virtually impossible and beats even the most cutting edge SSL encryption software used by gambling providers to secure traditional currency transactions.

  • Privacy

Crypto transactions can be carried out in complete anonymity. Not only do the users of gambling sites not have to provide their real identities for them to be authorized, they also do not need to supply any financial data such as bank account numbers.

It is not hard to see how that can protect them against data or identity theft and the casino sites against liability for such cyber crimes.

  • Efficiency

A third plus point is that cryptocurrency transactions are usually completed much more quickly than ones involving standard currencies. Whether it is depositing crypto coins into an online casino or sports betting account to gamble with or receiving any winnings, the transfer is usually more or less instant.

Even the top gambling sites will typically need a couple of days to process normal currency transactions.


  • Volatility

One of the main arguments against crypto is that the market is extremely volatile and the value of currencies can go up or down very suddenly. That means someone could win a sizeable sum of money by gambling online and receive the winnings in a chosen cryptocurrency only to find that a shift in the market means it is practically worthless.

In essence, there are really two gambles involved in betting using crypto.

  • Accountability

The cryptocurrency market does not have any national or transnational body overseeing it. That is a big part of the appeal of it for many enthusiasts, but it does also mean that there is no one to turn to if something goes wrong.

Some of the emerging gambling sites that deal only in crypto are properly regulated and licensed by gambling industry authorities, but others are not. No financial institution regulates cryptocurrency transactions either.

There is an overall lack of real accountability that might make more cautious players wary of taking a chance.

  • Availability

The best way to avoid being burned due to that absence of financial industry regulation is to stick with the most well-established casinos, bingo and sports betting sites. However, the problem is that those sites are still less likely on average to accept crypto payments than the newer ones.

A lack of reputable places to gamble online using crypto coins is a distinct minus point. It is likely to change as the currencies enter the mainstream, but that is something for the future rather than right now.

Choosing to gamble online using cryptocurrencies instead of traditional ones can bring genuine rewards but also carries very real risks. For most people the dangers will be too high, but gamblers are people who thrive on risk.

This expat’s healthy tea biz might have its sceptics, but it’s found a loyal M’sian audience

Hailing from Northern Ireland, Ashleigh has been living in Malaysia for the past nine years.

Originally, she had moved here due to her husband’s role, but now, Ashleigh herself is a part of the Talent Pass scheme, also known as Residence Pass-Talent.

An initiative to facilitate the entry and stay of selected foreign talent, the eligibility criteria include a minimum of three consecutive years working in Malaysia, a valid employment pass, and a basic monthly salary of RM15,000.

So, you might be wondering what Ashleigh does in order to be eligible for the programme.

The woman has had quite the career in sales, having worked for big names such as Coca Cola and L’Oreal, as well as the Royal Mail in London before emigrating to Australia.

While all those experiences have developed her passion for online marketing strategy and content development, Ashleigh is now applying her skills in her own business, Tea Bird Tea.  

Blooming into business

Ashleigh’s foray into entrepreneurship started not with Tea Bird Tea, but its predecessor, Balcony Bloomer.

The business was launched in Australia as a grow-in-the-bag herb and vegetable range with a focus on plants that have medicinal benefits. It was only when customers began inquiring about growing their own tea that Tea Bird Tea was formed.

But after moving to Malaysia, the business took a backseat. Beyond the fact that they were still settling in to a whole new country, Ashleigh had just given birth to her daughter too.

Image Credit: Tea Bird Tea

Yet, as someone who can’t sit still, the entrepreneur eventually approached Village Grocer in Bangsar as a loose-leaf blend brand. She was confident that her grow-in-the-bag herbs would be popular, especially with mums and kindergartens.

True to her beliefs, business took off, and the business expanded into about 50 stores over the first few years.

“When we started, we banged on doors until we got meetings, and then we pestered until we got onto shelves, and then we sampled and pursued until we took over storefronts through being super creative and enjoying what we do,” Ashleigh shared.

Sourced from abroad, made locally

While Ashleigh had started off focusing on loose-leaf offerings, she has since pivoted to teabags for greater convenience.

Yet, believing in the importance of preserving the original loose-leaf form, the brand uses corn starch pyramid teabags that are sealed via heat pressing, meaning there are no teabag strings, metal staples, glue, or ink-branded paper tags seeping into the brew.

“We source packaging elements overseas at the moment and our raw materials for the tea blends come from Sri Lanka, China, India, and some new secret ingredients will come from Malaysia,” Ashleigh shared.

Image Credit: Tea Bird Tea

The production and packing happen right here in Malaysia, though. Tea Bird Tea has a factory in Melaka.

There are plans to move the machine to a new facility in KL in the next six months, so customers can visit it and see where everything is produced and packed.

An underlying motive

Before she had found her passion in sales, Ashleigh had studied art in school and at university, but chose not to study fine art.

“I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get a job or make a living from selling art as at that time (1999) everything was about websites, and digital marketing was beginning to take off again after the initial dotcom boom in the UK,” she said.

Still, art is one of her many loves, so it comes as no surprise that Ashleigh actually designs many of Tea Bird Tea’s packaging herself.

In fact, Tea Bird Tea’s packaging was her way of getting her art into people’s houses. Today, though, that art has become synonymous with Tea Bird Tea’s branding.

“I had no idea if customers would like it, but all of sudden, I had a much wider audience and the feedback has been really special over the years,” she said.

Image Credit: Tea Bird Tea

She’s even designed a tea case for the Raja Permaisuri Agong—or Queen—of Malaysia during the pandemic.

The tea on selling tea

In Ashleigh’s own words, “tea is arguably as popular as the word OK being understood in every country around the world”.

But Malaysia’s tea drinking culture might differ from that of Northern Ireland and Australia. Rather than afternoon tea, most Malaysians may prefer teh or teh O, or maybe even bubble tea.

Ashleigh herself shared that in Northern Ireland, most people drink tea to warm up. But here in Malaysia, many drink it to cool down.

Image Credit: Tea Bird Tea

“It’s ‘same same, but different’,” she said. “It’s still a hug in a mug no matter where you are in the world.”

In any case, it’s not like she has to cater to every single Malaysian. Ashleigh just needs to reach the right demographic. Given that the business is based in Bangsar, its customers may lean towards the affluent crowd.

Ashleigh also mentioned that she has a lot of families and older empty nesters who are loyal customers.

“They are looking for quality, taste, value, and aesthetics, and are often more focused on their day-to-day health needs and exercise than younger people are,” she said.

“We have seen a shift, though, with a younger audience who enjoy tea and are more aware of health than my generation ever was.”

However, just like how Ashleigh was amused by friends who swore by supplements and protein powders, there may be sceptics who find tea and its benefits to be at best amusing, and at worst, pseudoscience.

Ashleigh recognises this, and has even accepted is as part and parcel of running a business.

“As an entrepreneur you learn early that everyone has an opinion on what you are doing or how they could do it better—that’s totally fine, everyone should have an opinion,” she said. “More opinions and more discussions are how we find solutions to everyday problems.”

That said, she argued that tea and its health properties have been well researched, documented, and experienced for hundreds of years.

“But we aren’t saying don’t drink anything else or this will change your life forever. We are saying small changes every day add up to feeling better overall if that’s what you want to do for yourself,” she concluded.

As she puts it, health requires a 360-degree analysis. People should source all the available information and apply them as they see fit.

Flying forward

While Ashleigh hinted at the prospects of exciting new projects for Tea Bird Tea, she couldn’t divulge much more.

She did, however, share that the business is focused on expanding to Singapore, Thailand, then further afield to the UK and the US.

Having to rebuild a brand in a new market and a new country isn’t easy, but Ashleigh has made it work.

Image Credit: Tea Bird Tea

“Anyone can open a door but walking through it and making it work is a whole other part of the story,” she shared. “With FMCG, it’s pretty competitive, so you have to forge good relationships and be willing to put yourself out there.”

Forging good relationships doesn’t mean being a placemat for suppliers to walk over, though. As Ashleigh put it, if it’s not profitable or if people aren’t punctual with payments, it’s not always worth the effort and time to maintain those relationships.

“Suppliers who choose not to work with you because you won’t give them free stock to sell might have a big name but they would probably cause bigger problems further down the line,” she advised. “Your miss is your mercy as my mum always says!”

On the topic of good quotes and mottos to live by, here’s one from Ashleigh that has gotten her through the many challenges of running a business and in a foreign country at that: “Smile, keep going, and embrace the unknown.”

  • Learn more about Tea Bird Tea here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Also Read: When not cooking at a Michelin-starred spot, this M’sian is designing Japanese chef knives

Featured Image Credit: Tea Bird Tea

This Gen Z serial entrepreneur started a M’sian automotive app that’s gotten 7-digit funding

Higher education is often seen as a necessity to get anywhere in life, a belief that is particularly held by the older generation.

However, plenty of the younger generation are proving otherwise. 24-year-old Jeff Tan is one such example.

The self-proclaimed Gen Z entrepreneur decided to forgo higher education in order to focus on his entrepreneurial dreams that he’s had since he was 19 years old.

One of the go-getter’s more recent launches is FORCAR, an online platform for the automotive aftermarket.

Paving his own path

Jeff started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 17 while still studying in high school. His first venture was a clothing line called ‘On n’ off clothing’ which he made and sold to his classmates.

After a teacher had found out about it, they asked him to help to provide a custom shirt printing service for the school.

Image Credit: Jeff Tan

After graduating from high school, Jeff shared that he initially struggled to find a college programme that fit him or his plan.

He eventually enrolled under an Earn While You Learn (EWYL) business administration programme requiring him to enter full-time employment on the weekdays.

However, just one week before the programme was due to start, he decided to drop out as he felt that the classes were unable to help him fulfil his ambitions.

Driving the need for change

Although Jeff shared that all of this left him feeling helpless, he began his own self-paced education journey through EDX, an American massive open online course provider created by Harvard and MIT.

Following which, he decided to start his first education startup. It was inspired by his feelings of helplessness during his search for college programmes.

With advice from industry experts, Jeff put his focus on the field of game design.

Image Credit: Jeff Tan

He shared that he and his team noticed that although most of the younger generation enjoyed gaming, the cost to pursue related programmes in higher education was out of reach for most.

Hence, he gathered game design companies who were also seeking talents to directly teach and provide job placements to the students. The programme even managed to get endorsement from higher-education institutions.

He then went on to launch another education startup and was also involved in the setting-up of an internet celebrity training company, and an esports management company with other investors.

As a testament to his entrepreneurial drive, Jeff was selected by the British Publishing House and included in their encyclopedia of “Successful People In Malaysia” in 2021 where he was shortlisted for Young Entrepreneurship (Business and Economics).

Image Credit: Jeff Tan

Navigating the world

Following his prior entrepreneurial ventures, Jeff was appointed as the head of business development for Seng Cars Group.

This is where he ended up working on the idea of FORCAR with chief executive officer Tracy Nyan after they realised that there was a lack of platforms dedicated to the Malaysian automotive aftermarket. 

Image Credit: FORCAR

Vulcan Post previously covered five locally-developed apps that offer essential and emergency car services, and the one that FORCAR comes closest to, is SERV.

Both platforms allow merchants to manage and improve their businesses with their system and offer instalment payments for vehicle owners.

With a total team of 13 staff members and their combined expertise, FORCAR was created back in February 2021 to digitally transform the automotive aftermarket industry, raise car safety condition standards, and increase industry transparency to safeguard consumers.

Image Credit: FORCAR

Fast forward to 2023, and FORCAR recently announced that it has secured funding in the “seven-figure range” to continue its momentum and growth in developing its all-in-one, integrated platform and “super app”.

“I must say that the impact of securing a seven-figure funding with strategic partnerships has been significant for the company’s growth and opportunities.”

“As a young entrepreneur, I’m grateful for the support and confidence that our investors have shown in our vision and potential,” said Jeff.

The platform has also entered an exclusive partnership with Baterihub so that they can offer battery support services with same-day delivery and installation to car users.

“We believe we have to work with each industry areas’ expert in order to make it greater,” said the founders.

Image Credit: FORCAR

Meanwhile, in terms of merchants, the duo shared that as of March 2023, 255 merchants have signed up under FORCAR’s platform.

“We decided to start with merchants first as we aim to bring our value to them and solve their cash flow so they can have a better business expansion,” they explained.

“As we are a startup that’s under two years old, we have yet to profit. But to breakeven soon is on our to-do list,” Jeff affirmed.

  • Learn more about FORCAR here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about the automotive industry here.

Also read: This M’sian brand has sustained itself with just one fizzy honey beverage for 6 years

Featured Image Credit: FORCAR

Not your usual phone cases, this M’sian brand spotlights designs from local artists

As someone who loves to change phone cases, I’m always on the lookout for phone accessory brands. I like them fresh, colourful, and nothing that looks like it could be a generic, mass-manufactured brand from Shopee. 

That’s how I stumbled across GALADO, a local phone casing brand that not only offers customised covers, but also collaborates with Malaysian artists and designers.

Image Credit: GALADO

Started by two gadget enthusiasts in 2014, the brand was a means to create protective yet customisable tech appliances. 

To the founders, Clement and Sherlyn, phone cases are a way of expressing one’s character. In their own words, “It should be fun!”, and I personally couldn’t agree more.

There’s something quite personal about phone accessories. Based on someone’s chosen design, you get a small glimpse into the user’s nature or interests.

Game of phone (cases)

Prior to GALADO, Clement had ventured into the iPhone casing industry in 2009. 

But the market demand was still low as the first iPhone was only released two years prior. And coupled with Clement’s lack of experience, the venture headed towards failure.

Image Credit: GALADO

Not one to give up, though, he decided to try his luck again. This time, with his wife by his side.

Clement’s a self-proclaimed “hardcore” tech lover, while Sherlyn shares an interest in Apple products. So it was only natural that they came together to launch a business related to that.

Aside from personalisation, the brand also focuses on manufacturing quality phone cases. 

To prove their commitment to this, the brand offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee with no questions asked for ten days. 

Should customers be unhappy with the purchase, they can also opt for a one-to-one exchange within six months of purchase. 

Image Credit: GALADO

Ringing in a new idea

After customising more than 35,000 names in black and white on cases, Clement and Sherlyn asked themselves, “What else can we do to further make phone cases fun?”

That sparked the idea for customisable hand-drawn portraits. So they sought out a local artist to collaborate with and ended up partnering with CYMM’s Studio. It’s still an ongoing collaboration today. 

Customers can send in their preferred photos to be drawn into cartoon-like characters. Then GALADO handles the printing of the design onto the phone case. 

The couple explained that it’s meant to be meaningful memorabilia that follows the person 24/7. 

Image Credit: GALADO

Especially when you consider the endless possibilities it offers, like carrying around an image of a loved one, whether they’re still around or not.

Besides portraits, Clement shared that they’ve also received requests to have bracelets, long-lost pendants, and the like, drawn onto the phone cases. 

“Each end product made us feel like we’re here for a great purpose, to turn memories into pocket-sized art pieces.”

This solidified their commitment to supporting homegrown Malaysian artists by giving them another platform to sell their artwork.

Image Credit: GALADO

Teamwork makes the dream work

These collaborations typically happen in two ways—by GALADO reaching out to the artists, or the other way around. 

The artwork style is typically how partnerships are vetted, as the brand looks for designs that match their marketing roll-out. There’s also a verification process to ensure that they’re working with original artists. 

This means that the designer owns the intellectual property and commercial rights to all the characters of the artwork. 

But so far, they haven’t run into any trouble in that regard and have hardly turned down any artists at this stage.

Image Credit: GALADO

Once the brand and the artist have signed a written agreement, GALADO will provide an artist kit with the dimensions and branding guidelines.

Along with that, they’ll also suggest a few themes that they’re interested in. This helps the artist when designing mockups, but doesn’t affect their art style. 

The brand operates on both a ready-stock and pre-order basis. It all depends on the phone model and chosen case artwork. Their designs can range from RM79 to RM135 in price.

For customised designs like their Chibi Me and Bubbly Me collections, they’re usually shipped within 10 days. But for ready-made phone cases, customers will receive them within three days.

Image Credit: GALADO

There’s no limit to the number of cases in each collaboration, provided it’s within the agreed-upon period. This could be anywhere from six months to a year. 

However, there are special cases. They’ve once collaborated with a Web3 artist that only offered 500 unique designs, and once the final one was sold, the collection ended.

Expanding their contacts

As the brand gained local traction, the demand for non-iPhone cases came pouring in. This led them to begin producing cases for flagship models of Samsung phones. 

GALADO has also expanded its list of product lines beyond phones and into AirPods, as well as MacBook covers. Some other smaller accessories they now sell include phone straps and lens protectors. 

It’s only been six months since the brand’s first artist collaboration, but its efforts have started gaining international popularity. 

Image Credit: GALADO

The duo shared that there have been partnership requests from artists in other parts of the world. One of them resulted in a recent collaboration with Indonesian artist, dreamprojects.

As for how these profits are divided, the couple explained that they have tiered revenue splits up to 30% for each casing sold.

With the phone accessories market currently expected to be worth US$97 million this year, it’s inspiring to see that the founders are spotlighting local artists and helping them gain recognition along the way.

  • Learn more about GALADO here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Also Read: When not cooking at a Michelin-starred spot, this M’sian is designing Japanese chef knives

Featured Image Credit: GALADO

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)