Start Singapore: Kluje offers online service to property managers

Anglo-Chinese Junior College student Nithyasri Manikandan's mobile app WePay won the top prize in the Most Imaginative Payment Solution category in the Citi Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific last month.
Anglo-Chinese Junior College student Nithyasri Manikandan's mobile app WePay won the top prize in the Most Imaginative Payment Solution category in the Citi Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific last month.PHOTO: CITIBANK

Kluje offers online service to property managers

Local start-up Kluje, which helps home owners find plumbers, electricians and other contractors online, has expanded its service to property managers.

Kluje will post a list of participating contractors, who can bid for commercial renovation projects, on kluje.com.

Real estate managers post the work they want done on their properties, such as space planning, interior design, security solutions and furniture installation. Up to three contractors can bid for these projects, which usually cost between US$30,000 (S$42,000) and US$500,000.

The real estate managers select the contractor based on the best quote. They can also check out how good the contractors are from a ranking compiled by Kluje.

This ranking of contractors is compiled from customer feedback and reviews over the last two years that Kluje has been in business.

A media statement said yesterday that Kluje can also provide consultants who will help property managers ensure that contractors deliver good work on time.

This is especially handy for expatriate property managers in non-English speaking markets, said the statement.

The start-up was founded two years ago. Founder Andrew Esmonde-White said that there is a big market for commercial renovation.

"With commercial real estate still booming and rental prices rising in the region, Kluje is excited at the opportunities in servicing this multibillion-dollar renovation industry," he said in the media statement.

Kluje is available in Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand.


S'pore start-ups do well in Citibank mobile challenge

Anglo-Chinese Junior College student Nithyasri Manikandan grabbed the top spot for a mobile payment app in the Citi Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific last month.

Called WePay, the app bagged the top prize in the Most Imaginative Payment Solution category. It allows customers to make instant purchases once they walk into a store.

A customer opens the app to scan a product's QR code - a type of machine-readable code - when he wants to buy it. Once the purchase is confirmed, money from the customer's bank account will be transferred to the shop.

Citibank's head of Asean and country officer for Singapore, Mr Michael Zink, described WePay as an imaginative solution. The bank will introduce the service as part of its offerings, he said.

Ms Manikandan, a Singaporean, received US$25,000 (S$35,000).

The winners of the challenge were announced earlier this week.

The other winners from Singapore were Moneythor, which offers a tool to enhance digital banking, which won the top prize for Most Personalised Use Of Big Data, and expense-sharing app CashTrack, which received the Most Intuitive Personal Financial Management Solution award.

They were among 15 winners in the challenge, taking home top prizes in areas like supply chain and mortgage solutions.

The winners were evaluated based on their impact on the financial services industry, viability, user experience and functionality.

A total of 72 teams from 15 countries took part in the challenge. They presented their working prototypes to Citibank executives and technology influencers during four Demo Days, held last month in Bengaluru (India), Singapore, Sydney and Hong Kong.


S'porean's device controls room temperature

Do you wake up in the middle of the night feeling too cold?

The temperature in your room is affected not just by the air-conditioning but also the environment, said Singaporean entrepreneur Julian Lee.

"During the night, the outside temperature also drops. The room temperature doesn't change even though the room has cooled down. So overall, you feel colder."

Mr Lee founded Ambi Labs to find a solution to this problem.

He develop a sensor that automatically controls a room's temperature.

The device, called Ambi Climate, allows consumers to set the temperature they want on their air-conditioners for a fixed number of hours. It automatically maintains that level of coolness through the day or night.

"If the temperature goes down, the sensor turns off the air-con. If it gets warmer, it automatically lowers the temperature."

The sensor is available here for $279 at Challenger's roadshow at ION shopping mall. More stores will be selling the sensor next year.

The start-up, which has its office in Hong Kong, hopes to open an office here. It was one of the original participants in StarHub's Crowdtivate crowdfunding platform last year. It could not raise the amount it needed because people in Singapore are less inclined to support technology products they have not seen or touched, Mr Lee said.

He did not disclose the sum he wanted to raise on Crowdtivate.

Ambi Labs relaunched its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in the United States where it successfully raised US$115,000 (S$162,000) for manufacturing.

Grace Chng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2015, with the headline 'Start Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe