Start Singapore: Viddsee inks deal with Discovery Networks

Viddsee co-founders Ho Jia Jian (far left) and Derek Tan. Kicking off the new content offerings are five short video features from here collectively called Singapore Stories.
Viddsee co-founders Ho Jia Jian (left) and Derek Tan. Kicking off the new content offerings are five short video features from here collectively called Singapore Stories.PHOTO: VIDDSEE

Viddsee inks deal with Discovery Networks

Singapore online short film hub Viddsee has expanded its video inventory by inking a partnership with Discovery Networks Asia Pacific, a leading global entertainment network.

For the first time in the region, fans will be able to enjoy selected content from the channel's First Time Filmmakers section, which showcases short documentaries.

The content is now available on Viddsee's portal (www.viddsee.com/discovery).

Kicking off the new content offerings are five short video features from here collectively called Singapore Stories. These features commemorate different aspects of the Republic's 50th birthday. They include features on urban farming, housing estates and Singapore's marine park.

Viewers will also be able to enjoy video features that document Japan's progress and obsessions. Called Super Japan, they include documentaries on free-diving female divers, the fixation on ramen, and Japanese construction technologies.

Another set of documentaries is called Nanjing Calling which focuses on celebrating the Chinese city's past, and its future as it prepared to host the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

Ms Charmaine Kwan, Discovery Networks Asia Pacific's head of products for South-east Asia, said the short films aim to foster local film-making talent and help support the local documentary film-making industry.

Viddsee is a great platform to showcase the rich pool of local film-making talent that the network works with, she said in a media statement. "We hope this will inspire the next generation of film-makers in bringing their stories to life in the digital space."

Viddsee's co-founder Derek Tan said he has seen that local stories generate a lot of interest with the portal's viewers. "It helps with the discovery of the world around us," he added. Viddsee's daily curation of short films is distributed and marketed to online communities on its social, Web and mobile platforms.

Internet of Things accelerator

A new accelerator called EnchantVC has been set up to provide business guidance for start-ups in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector. Set up two months ago by seasoned corporate executives Gene Berger and Slava Solonitsyn, it is one of the earliest IoT start-up boot camps here.

EnchantVC's inaugural intake has 17 local and foreign start-ups who will use the 10-week programme to fine-tune their business ideas and commercial plans. They are already halfway through the boot camp.

In addition to business mentorship, each start-up will also get an average of $50,000 funding in return for a small equity stake. Start-ups completing the programme can raise more funding or go to crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

"The crowdfunding sites are good for the start-ups because they validate the commercial potential of the products," Mr Berger told The Straits Times.

The start-up participants in the boot camp are focused on different sectors such as wellness, productivity and lifestyle. One start-up called Shoka has developed an app and a bicycle bell to provide different ringtones when bikers are near cars and pedestrians, to act as a theft alarm as well as help cyclists safely navigate the streets.

Said Mr Berger: "We think that IoT has lots of potential but they are difficult companies to build as they require hardware and software integration."

Mr Berger, who has invested in start-ups here in the last 10 years, decided to set up EnchantVC here primarily because of Singapore's legal system. "Intellectual property is very important to start-ups. The legal system here protects intellectual property, so my portfolio companies are comfortable doing their development work here."

Jungle sets up SeedPlus

Established venture capitalist Jungle Ventures has set up another fund to invest in emerging tech start-ups.

Called SeedPlus, it is an eight-figure fund which will invest in start-ups with deep technologies in areas like artificial intelligence and data science.

Other local and foreign venture-capital investors in SeedPlus include Infocomm Investments (IIPL), Accel Partners, India and RNT Associates. It also counts Google South-east Asia and PwC Singapore as strategic partners on its board. SeedPlus will fund each start-up $500,000 to $1 million. Jungle recently set up a US$100 million (S$138 million) fund to invest in start-ups ready for rapid business expansion.

SeedPlus is part of Jungle's strategy to have a "listening post" close to the ground to ensure that it has a pipeline of start-ups where it can inject bigger investments. Jungle tapped Mr Tiang Lim Foo, previously with digital notebook app Evernote, and two other seasoned corporate executives to manage SeedPlus. The others are Mr Michael Smith Jr of video streaming service HOOQ, and Mr Gabriel Lundberg, previously product manager at music streaming portal, Spotify.

Grace Chng

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2016, with the headline 'Start Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe