Our strong entrepreneurial culture at SUTD has already produced over 40 successful and exciting startups. But that’s no surprise, since the university provides numerous opportunities for mentorship, networking, consultation, and even co-working spaces with access to fabrication facilities.
Here’s a look at 4 inspiring businesses that have their roots in SUTD:
- Lionsbot https://www.lionsbot.com/
What: Lionsbot designs, builds and manufactures autonomous professional cleaning robots, which it offers on a world-first’s subscription model, saving customers the cost of ownership and maintenance. Its family of robots can do more than just scrubbing and shining – they can be controlled and managed via an app, speak multiple languages (did we mention Singlish!), and even can even “wink” and joke with curious passers-by!
Who: The company was co-founded by SUTD Assistant Professor Mohan Rajesh Elara (right), whose research expertise revolves around robotic, human-machine interfaces, and more. Fun fact: the majority of Lionsbot’s engineers are graduates from SUTD too!
Why: The idea was born from the growing shortage of cleaners. Instead of displacing cleaning staff from their jobs, these robots can help ease their workload, and free them up for higher value-added duties such as supervision. The energy-saving robots are also more sustainable to maintain; using zero harsh chemicals and just 600ml water of water per hour during cleaning.
Where: Lionsbot robots are available in 21 countries (and counting)! In 2020, the company also became the first Asian company to clinch the coveted Interclean Amsterdam Innovation Award.
- The Kiap Family https://www.thekiapfamily.com/
What: The Kiap Kiap is a simple yet innovative clip-on tool that lets users easily share handwritten information during virtual meetings. Designed to “kiap” – or clip – over laptop or tablet cameras, users can then place what he/she wants to share on the tabletop or keyboard. The Kiap Kiap comes in a fun variety of colours, and is lightweight, adjustable, and sustainable – it’s 3D-printed using cornstarch!
Who: A group of fresh SUTD graduates: Peng Maoyu, Calvin Hia Qinglin, Sheeqal Rukirsor Sofyan, Chan Terng Tseng Nigel, Soh Jun Xian, and Nicholas Witjaksono. Before setting up The Kiap Family, they have also worked on MoBlocks (below), a smart construction blocks toy for their Capstone project.
Front row, from left to right: Peng Maoyu, Calvin Hia Qinglin, Sheeqal Rukirsor Sofyan
Back row, from left to right: Chan Terng Tseng Nigel, Soh Jun Xian, Nicholas Witjaksono
Why: The idea was inspired by the real-world problems of home-based learning during the pandemic. “It all started when I saw my little cousin struggling to hold up his Chinese textbook in front of the screen to show his Chinese tutor his work,” explains team member Calvin Hia. To help students like his cousin, as well as teachers deal with this remote-learning challenge, the team conceptualised and develop the product to facilitate easy remote learning for everyone.
Where: The Kiap Kiap has been adopted by more than 50 schools to date, and has been picked up by professionals from other sectors too – such as life coaches, workshop presenters, and financial advisors.
What: Fintech startup BEEP’s proprietary tech has upgraded the vending machines in our neighborhoods to dispense reusable face masks and ART kits. Their Internet of Things platform can, and has also been applied on all types of vending machines to accept cashless payments.
Who: Terence Tan co-founded BEEP during his first year in SUTD!
Why: While still in National Service, Terence and his partner initially wanted to create an easy-to-use cashless payment solution for hawkers. After enrolling in SUTD, he was introduced to the vending machine sector through an event organised by the SUTD Entrepreneurship Centre, where he saw the potential in implementing cashless payments on vending machines.
Where: BEEP has powered more than 100 vending machines island-wide as part of the Ministry of Health’s efforts to distribute free ART kits to close contacts of Covid cases, and in various hospitals and university campuses in Singapore. It also supported the Hong Kong government’s distribution of PCR specimen collection packs via over 80 machines country-wide!
- Bifrost https://www.bifrost.ai/
What: Machine learning involves feeding AI systems labelled data so that they can learn to identify items and scenarios, but procuring and labelling said data is extremely expensive and time-consuming. Bifrost allows developers to generate these data sets in a significantly shorter time by generating them virtually.
Who: SUTD alumni Aravind Kandiah (left, above) and Charles Wong (right, above) developed Bifrost as a Capstone project in 2019.
Why: Some labelled data can be harder to acquire than others, such as photos of train accidents, and specific product defects and faults. This makes the training of AI systems difficult. Bifrost overcomes this hurdle by generating these rarely occurring items and scenarios virtually.
Where: Outer space! Bifrost was selected to join the Techstars Starburst Space programme, which focuses on the next generation of space technology .
Read about our other startups at https://entrepreneurship.sutd.edu.sg/incubate/
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