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Business  3, Jun 2014

How thinking out-of-the-box put these companies in the top bracket

Innovation has ushered in a phenomenal growth in Singapore. Aksvini Kamaran of imoney.sg cites the country’s firms that think anew and are ahead in the game

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Singapore aka the East Asian Tiger is already globally renowned for its roaring economic progress and being the easiest country to do business in. It recently even earned the distinction of being named the most innovative country in the Asia Pacific region. The study, conducted by the Solidiance firm, revealed that Singapore earned the highest average ranking after the careful assessment of six key factors – talent, knowledge, technology, society, government and global assimilation. In addition to this, Singapore has already ranked third on the 2012 Global Innovation Index.

Even though Singapore is still a new initiate to the league of financial powerhouses, it has cultivated one of the most hassle-free business ecosystems in the world that has allowed entrepreneurs and corporate titans to reach their true potential. Thanks to the ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ strategy of the Singaporean government, Singapore got an all-access passport to becoming a thriving economic landscape and a diverse hub of business innovation. A plethora of exciting startups have emerged across every field ranging from IT, alternative energy, manufacturing, healthcare, arts, etc.

Also Read: How is collaborative economy fuelling S’pore’s entrepreneurial surge

Today, we will take an in-depth look at five remarkable startup success stories that exemplify the concept of innovation at its finest:

1. Teamie
Education is the most intangible asset one can possess. However, the conventional copy-paste exam culture and redundant teaching methods have diminished the value of education over the years. Teamie is an innovative new learning platform on the digital space that doubles up as a 24/7 virtual campus for students and teachers to enrich the learning process by giving them all an avenue to realise their true potential.

Teamie provides mobile and web tools for grading, assignment forums, chatrooms, etc. to add another dimension to the educational experience. It has successfully integrated cloud technology to give students and teachers a cost-effective subscription-based service that does not put a crippling load on their IT resources.

2. Qian Hu
Although Qian Hu was already positioned comfortably as a fantastic ornamental fish-service provider and exporter, its renewed knowledge-driven approach has helped launch its business to meteoric new heights. After establishing a highly capable R&D division in 2009, Qian Hu’s management was able to zero down on all the redeeming points and loopholes in their business strategy backed by clear and concise data.

Qian Hu’s technical innovation efforts also paid in dividends with the development of its advanced Arowana tank, “LUMI’Q” fish tank, and an uber-efficient water filtration system. These remarkable innovations have helped further consolidate the position of Qian Hu as the best integrated fish service provider in Singapore.

3. Biosensors
Biosensors is one of the esteemed leaders in the Singaporean pharmaceutical industry that has not only launched several landmark drugs in the market, but also set the gold standard for clinical research around the world.

Its patented BioM­atrix drug managed to secure a 10 per cent of the market share over a brief three-year window. Apart from this, it has also pioneered the development of Biolimus A9 – the first proprietary drug for coronery stent, and a coated biodegradable polymer drug-eluting stent that can be completely absorbed within six-nine months.

Thanks to these products and a proactive intellectual property rights initiative, Biosensors managed to net a hefty US$237 million in licensing revenues in between 2004-2012. The interventional cardiology solutions offered by Biosensors have ramped up by nearly seven folds over half a decade.

4. Philips V&MA
The brand presence of Philips in the electronics industry is undeniably powerful. The V&MA division has played an instrumental role in the innovation of products targeted at OEM customers and global retail chains.

This Singaporean unit possesses the biggest product development centre second only to the one at Netherlands. Since 2005, Philips V&MA has skyrocketed ahead of its competitors and acquired a healthy growth in market share pegged at 13 per cent.

Philips V&MA recognises the significance of a motivated workforce and organises a seasonal in-house employee innovation competition. Through this, employees are encouraged to awaken the aspiring entrepreneurial spirit within them and pitch their best project ideas to the upper management. The shortlisted ideas are green-lighted by the company for implementation in the market on a mass scale.

5. Travelshopa
Travelshopa is a one-of-a-kind curated platform designed exclusively to bridge the gap between local businesses and consumers of Singapore. So far, it has weaved together over 180 business profiles that allow them to effectively leverage their SEO, SMM, offline marketing and PR efforts via one platform.

Its aim to showcase talented local designers has helped put brands like Taylor B, Art from Junk, Bowerbird Home and Strangelets in the limelight and set up a loyal customer base for them. Travelshopa has fostered a community built on the ideals of collaborative economy where shoppers and brands contribute to provide a fully transparent and organic shopping experience.

The author is Country Manager (Singapore) of imoney.sg

The views expressed here are of the author, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them

e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested to share your point of view, please send us an email to writers[at]e27[dot]com

Aksvini Kamaran

Aksvini Kamaran

Aksvini Kamaran, works for iMoney.sg, Singapore's one of the leading financial comparison website. With background in Economics and Finance from RMIT University, Aksvini believes financial knowledge is the engine of one's wealth.

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