Whiz-kid who won $500k S'pore grant

SINGAPORE - He is said to be a whiz-kid who began learning computer programming at the tender age of seven. Now, Mr Justin Fulcher has won half a million dollars from the Singapore Government to build a website.

But the 21-year-old American, who has been based here since last year, has also raised eyebrows with his claims of past achievements.

When Mr Fulcher was featured on entrepreneurship website Mixergy, readers left dozens of comments questioning how he was able to achieve so much at such a young age, including raking in large yearly profits.

When pressed on this, he said: "The short answer is that it was extremely difficult. It involved me making tonnes of cold calls and getting denied hundreds and hundreds of times."

Early last year, the National Research Foundation invested $500,000 in Mr Fulcher's company, MedPats, for developing a site called RingMD.

The Government now owns a significant stake in the start-up.

Launched in December, RingMD seeks to provide patients instant access to doctors through private messages, and voice and video calls.

There are scores of doctors signed up on RingMD, the bulk of whom are based in Singapore. Mr Fulcher declined to state his growth numbers for both doctors and users.

According to the site, users are charged between $1 and $5.50 a minute.

Mr Fulcher said the idea for RingMD came about in 2012, and is based on his observations on access to health care while travelling around South-east Asia.

MedPats is not Mr Fulcher's first company. When he was 13, he built a basic website for a business in South Carolina where he lived, earning US$50 for the favour. This led to him setting up a company called Carolina Software Solutions at the same age.

When he was 16, he set up another company called Kinda IT to design apps for businesses, such as analytics tools and supply-chain-management programs.

He claims to have had multinational corporations as clients, and hired virtual programmers to handle the work, but declined to state who his past clients were and how many people Kinda IT employed.

He left both companies two years ago and moved to South-east Asia after "falling in love" with the region.

Getting a multinational corporation as a client at an early stage kickstarted his ambitions.

He said: "I guess I was a bit crazy that I kept going at it. I kept persevering... Once you get that level of client, like an MNC, then you have that as an item to say: 'Hey, I worked with these guys, we can solve the same problem for you,' and you can use that leverage."


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