Start@SG: Brunei prince backs S'pore start-up

Brunei prince backs S'pore start-up

Brunei's Prince Abdul Qawi has invested in HugProperty.com, a real estate platform specialising in urgent sale properties.

The three-month-old start-up was founded by Dr Andy Teoh, a former data scientist from Singtel, Mr Winston Lam, a former property agent, and Mr Jeffery Sung, a senior vice-president at DBS Bank.

The prince, who is the eldest son of the former Brunei foreign minister, Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, said: "I find that HugProperty offers the real-estate market a unique solution. I am keen to support the passionate founders as they build the team who will bring this idea to market. I look forward to participating in their subsequent fund-raising and will share my business network with them when they expand to the rest of Asia."

The company - a finalist in the DBS Hotspot Pre-Accelerator 2016 - received a $25,000 entrepreneur award from the bank.


Byte opens first international campus

New York City-based tech school Byte Academy officially opened its first international campus in Singapore on Nov 10, offering courses in financial technology (fintech), data science and programming.

The school is also offering guaranteed job placements in major tech and banking companies to graduates from its full-time courses as part of a partnership with the Infocomm Media Development Authority's Tech Immersion and Placement Programme.

Only Singapore citizens qualify for the programme.

Byte Academy said it will refund the full course fee should it fail to place graduates in a role within six months of course completion.

The school is also partnering Standard Chartered Bank, IBM, Insead, Thomson Reuters and Microsoft to form a "fintech skills charter", which aims to develop the industry here.


E-ticket hub open for travel agents

A new electronic ticketing marketplace launched last week aims to be a one-stop shop for travel agents designing packages for tourists.

Called GlobalTix, the platform links merchants, tourist attractions and travel agents who are able to bundle the offerings into customised travel packages.

These are then combined into a single e-ticket for travellers.

Some tourist attractions and food and beverage merchants previously found it tough to tap the e-commerce market, the company said.

"We saw the opportunity to create a marketplace for all merchants and travel partners, which is a boon for travellers and the tourism industry," said Mr Chan Chee Chong, the co-founder and chief executive officer of GlobalTix.

The company is working with all the major attractions in Singapore and more than 200 travel partners, including Universal Studios Singapore, Wildlife Reserves Group, Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Airlines.

Its ticketing value has grown five times since 2014 to reach almost $50 million annually.

GlobalTix plans to venture into about 20 cities around the region in the next two to three years.


PatSnap closes funding round

Home-grown patents database platform PatSnap has raised an undisclosed sum in its latest funding round led by Sequoia Capital China. Shunwei Capital and Qualgro also participated.

PatSnap operates an intellectual property database with over 118 million patents. It also has licensing and litigation data, economic data, patent valuation, image and chemical formula search, trademark recognition and other metrics.

The firm will use the funds raised to further its research and development work. It is also building an R&D centre in Singapore, and plans to hire 20 more engineers and data scientists.

PatSnap now has about 400 employees based in its Singapore, London and Suzhou offices.

It is serving over 3,000 customers worldwide, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Vodafone, L'Oreal and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chia Yan Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2016, with the headline 'Start@SG'. Print Edition | Subscribe