What is the first thing you do when you go to the Sky Bar at Marina Bay Sands? Look at the view? No. Order a drink? No. What you do is you update your status on social media and check-in. Admit it!
We are addicted to social media channels and updating our friends of our every waking hour. But how many of us know the man behind this awesome technology?
Meet Neeraj Jhanji, who founded ImaHima in Tokyo, the world’s first mobile social network back in 1999. He invented the concepts of mobile check-in, status update and location-based marketing, and sold the patents to Facebook in 2013. Yes, true story.
And Jhanji is now in Singapore with a uniquely positioned incubator for tech startups!
Do you like tinkering, experimenting, playing with all things tech? Do you have a commercially viable idea? Jhanji is the man to seek.
“Selling the patent to Facebook marked an end of a long journey. Now, with Tinker, I am looking at utilising the experience, relationships and resources I have to mentor the next generation of techies,” said Jhanji, in conversation with e27.
So why did we refer to Tinker as a uniquely positioned incubator?
In addition to aiding growth of startups by providing all necessary guidance, connections and direction, Tinker will be building its own products as well. In fact, it is already working on its first mobile app Pasteasy, which will be out this week.
Tinker is completely self-funded. It comprises both, hardware and software professionals. After Pasteasy, it will be pursuing other mobile application ideas.
Copy pasting made super easy
What do you do when you want something from your WhatsApp message on your desktop or when you want the pictures from your tablet on your phone? Email it to yourself? Or put it up on the cloud?
Why go through all that? Pasteasy is a mobile app that can help you copy from one device and seamlessly paste on another. Ain’t that cool? The utility tool treats all your devices as one ecosystem. It will be available on Android and iOS.
When asked why Tinker chose this as its first product, Jhanji shared they wanted to take on a simple, but exciting project as the company and the team is new.
The incubator strategy
If you are a startup looking for mentorship, you can pitch to Tinker and if they like the idea, you get to join the team. Together with it, you can build a prototype. If it makes commercial sense, Tinker will then create a subsidiary and spin out the project as a separate company, which can then attract external investment and start its own journey.
“Tinker will essentially be a mothership that will spin off other companies. It will be a playground for startups. This way it can be unlimited in its potential,” said Jhanji, to e27.
It will definitely have a stake in these new companies. However, there is no fixed percentage and will depend on case by case basis.
Tinker will be essentially looking to mentor startups in the mobile space, both hardware and software, enterprise software, location-based applications, mobile advertising, and cleantech.
The firm will look at investing in startups at various stages – right from angel to pre-IPO and will not be restricted to the region. Jhanji brings with him experience from Japan, Silicon Valley, Sweden, Canada and India, among other places.
“Tinker is more than just about the funds involved. It will mentor startups on technology, finance, expansion to global markets, patents, and more,” he said.
Jhanji concluded with very sound advice for young entrepreneurs; he said, “Lead with innovation, but it is flawless execution that really counts.”