Start Singapore: Ideal Workspace's smart standing desk

Ideal Workspace co-founders Deng Yuying (left) and Andrew McDonnell. The Singapore start-up is on track to raise US$50,000 (S$71,000) on American crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.
Ideal Workspace co-founders Deng Yuying (left) and Andrew McDonnell. The Singapore start-up is on track to raise US$50,000 (S$71,000) on American crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.PHOTO: IDEAL WORKSPACE

Ideal Workspace's smart standing desk

Singapore start-up Ideal Workspace is on track to raise US$50,000 (S$71,000) on American crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to make 200 units of a smart standing desk called Aspirus.

With about three weeks left in the campaign, the Aspirus has already raised about US$45,000.

Aspirus is a smart standing workstation that is automated, customisable and offers healthcare motivation.

Co-founder Deng Yuying said: "After I gave birth to my daughter, I suffered from back pain. So I bought a standing desk from overseas."

Standing desks are more ergonomic and relieved Ms Deng of back pain. She was so impressed that she set up Ideal Workspace with her co-founder, Mr Andrew McDonnell, to distribute standing desks.

However, customers complained that the desks were not user-friendly, so the duo decided to create their own product.

Aspirus sits on a desk. Users can mount a monitor, a laptop stand, or two monitors onto Aspirus.

Once the height of the monitor is manually adjusted, the screen is always at the user's eye level.

Just below the screen is a platform where the user can place a computer and keyboard. This platform is adjustable with a touch of a button.

If a user wants to sit, the computer can lie flat on the desk or be moved up to a height of 46cm above desk level.

What differentiates Aspirus from other standing desks is its digital smarts. It uses sensors and a mobile app to monitor the user's behaviour.

It tracks, for example, how long the user has been sitting down and nudges him to stand or move by giving an alert by lighting up the Aspirus logo.

Ms Deng said: "We decided to raise capital for manufacturing on Indiegogo to show that there were customers for our smart standing desk."

The co-founders have invested about $100,000 of their own money into the start-up.

Aspirus will be delivered to customers next year.


'Sweden, Singapore can leverage on each other'

Stockholm and Singapore can collaborate on innovation and start-ups, said Mr Olle Zetterberg, chief executive of Business Region Stockholm.

He told The Straits Times last Friday that Stockholm has a tech-savvy population adept with mobile phones. It also has good universities which provide a good workforce.

"Singapore start-ups can consider Stockholm as a jump-off point for the European market," he added.

He was here as part of the Nobel Prize series on Nov 5 and 6, organised by Nobel Media and the Nobel Museum in partnership with Nanyang Technological University. The series aims to stimulate innovation and creative thinking, bringing together Nobel laureates, experts and lifelong learners.

Swedish entrepreneur Pranav Kosuri said he does not have much knowledge about the Asian market.

"I'm interested in Singapore and, to me, there are many opportunities. My start-up Flic is going to the United States, but we'll have to think about Asia," said Mr Kosuri, who was part of the Swedish delegation.

Flic is a wireless button that lets users create a short cut to favourite actions like calling a taxi or setting an alarm so that they do not have to touch the mobile phone.


Digital disruption 'needs new leadership'

As Singapore transforms itself into a smart nation, all sectors, including healthcare, financial services and government, will need to be guided by digitally savvy leaders.

This will be the topic of a one-day conference on digital leadership and innovation to be held next Friday. Organised by the National University of Singapore and the Institute of Systems Science, speakers include Ms Ayesha Khanna, co-founder of enrichment hub The Keys Academy, Mr Laurence Smith, managing director and group head of learning and talent development at DBS Bank, and entrepreneur Rosaline Koo.

The event will be held at Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay. Participants will have to pay $321 each. To register, go to www.iss.nus.edu.sg/DigitalLeadership.aspx and follow the links.

Grace Chng

• Send news on start-up developments to chngkeg@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2015, with the headline 'Start Singapore: Ideal Workspace's smart standing desk'. Print Edition | Subscribe