From strength to strength: How local tech companies are reaping the benefits of accelerated growth
As tech titans such as Twitter, Alibaba and ByteDance converge upon Singapore, a metamorphosis for the city is underway – alluded to by some as the making of Asia’s Silicon Valley.
Local technology investment is on the rise – driven by both public and private sector support – while pioneering start-ups and groundbreaking solutions seemingly crop up on the daily. In particular, the deep tech scene is seeing a boom amid burgeoning investment and interest in advanced technologies as Singapore carves a path towards the future economy.
To help bridge the gap between great ideas and solutions for society at scale, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore is extending support to local-based tech companies that are on track to realise the future of enterprise technologies.
STOKING SPARKS INTO ROARING FLAMES
AUTOMATING THE REGION'S FLOW OF TALENT
One such firm at the forefront of change is impress.ai, a Singapore-headquartered artificial intelligence (AI) company with a mission to make hiring easier for organisations.
Its AI-powered platform helps companies identify candidates with the right skills accurately and at scale, serving an important function by streamlining the hiring process and slashing the time to shortlist by 90 per cent.
CEO Sudhanshu Ahuja shared that impress.ai was founded on the belief that that the digital economy should not just benefit the few; it should be for everyone – especially so for the plethora of people seeking to pursue a career in it.
“Our company is built around the goal of building products that enable people to pursue career growth opportunities irrespective of their background, connections and pedigree. People should have access to opportunity based on just their skills,” explained Mr Ahuja.
According to Mr Ahuja, the SG:D Spark programme has helped the company to significantly accelerate business growth, particularly in the areas of marketing and simplifying the customer purchasing process.
“When we joined SG:D Spark, we had just two government clients on pilots. Within two years on the programme, we grew this to over 10 government customers. We grew even during 2020 when a lot of businesses were struggling. Our team had fewer than 30 staff at that time; in 2021, we had grown to 90,” he elaborated.
With significant customer traction and support from reputable investors, notably SEEDS Singapore, the company has since moved up to the Accreditation@SGD programme.
Thanks to being IMDA-accredited, impress.ai was able to renew and expand on its existing accounts as well as close two new additional deals with government agencies. It is also now able to participate in tenders that requires companies to be accredited and, “customers are trusting us with larger scopes and longer contracts,” said Mr Ahuja.
The company will be focusing on growth this year, working towards a Series A fundraise in the second half of the year, shared Mr Ahuja. “This will continue to help us ramp up marketing efforts and internationalise the business further.”
REVOLUTIONISING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Another start-up that has benefitted from SG:D Spark and Accreditation@SGD was WIZ.AI, which develops conversational AI technology to empower enterprises.
Its core offering, the WIZ A.I. Virtual Talkbot, is an omni-channel platform (telephone, mobile phone, WhatsApp, WeChat, mobile app) that automates outbound and inbound voice conversation customer engagement and customer services.
This enables enterprises to provide instant, consistent and high-quality customer service through the power of WIZ’s A.I. Talkbot. The Talkbot possesses human-like warmth, emotions and tonality, to better engage with enterprise customers.
As part of WIZ.AI’s mission to be ASEAN’s top human-like conversational voice AI, the company similarly sought support from IMDA programmes, beginning with an application to SG:D Spark.
“Just being part of the SG:D Spark programme has helped us with our branding and trust, especially in the early days when we were talking to large financial institutions,” shared Ms Jennifer Zhang, CEO and co-founder of WIZ.AI.
“Apart from that, we have benefited immensely from being part of SG:D Spark’s ecosystem and network. This has helped us gain greater market insight and developed connections with potential clients,” she added.
To move up to the Accreditation@SGD programme, the company focused on developing its technical, financial and operational segments, which in turn helped them in dealings with clients.
Said Ms Zhang: “We intend to leverage the experience of Singapore enterprises in various industry verticals and launch into the US market directly with US enterprises as well as indirectly through Philippine-based business process outsourcing companies serving US enterprises.”
She added that WIZ.AI is looking to bridge a gap in medical infrastructure by developing and piloting the WIZ A.I. Nurse to enable doctors and nurses to monitor cancer patients’ well-being remotely. This will strengthen Singapore’s status as a medical hub utilising cutting-edge telehealth technology, she said.
RIDING THE MOMENTUM
Companies like impress.ai and WIZ.AI are among a new breed of homegrown tech organisations looking to stand toe-to-toe with regional and global technology giants.
As Singapore’s tech start-up space continues to grow and mature, programmes such as those offered by IMDA serve as a platform to elevate aspiring founders and passionate teams.
Indeed, with time, commitment and the appropriate support from key stakeholders, Singapore may well live up to the moniker as the Silicon Valley of Asia.
Looking to understand how IMDA can facilitate and accelerate the growth of your tech start-up? Register your interest for the Accreditation@SGD programme by contacting accreditation [at] imda.gov.sg.