A year of new frontiers

A year of new frontiers
A sign that the start-up ecosystem is maturing is the emergence of grassroots networking communities such as Startup Grind, which holds regular meetings for technopreneurs to share experiences.

SINGAPORE - The sluggish economic growth expected next year has an upside for tech start-ups.

Industry insiders say that as fledgling businesses are pursuing fresh ideas not seen in the market, they stand a better chance in a downturn.

Mr Lim Der Shing, co-founder of JobsCentral, said: "Start-ups create new markets which have better returns on investments."

Added Singapore-based tech investor William Klippgen: "They often offer cheaper ways to solve existing problems."

E-commerce start-ups this year expanded into high-end fashion goods and luxury travel, previously thought impervious to online buying.

Fashion goods e-tailer Reebonz expanded into the region and Luxe Nomad and ImpulseFlyer emerged in the travel segment.

Ventures once thought impossible online have added a new texture to the start-up landscape.

Local start-up Crowdonomic helps other new start-ups raise funds from the public. Since it went live a couple of months ago, it now has four "campaigns" raising funds for different projects from peer-to-peer car sharing to comparing Singapore companies through video presentations.

Milaap, started by two Indians who graduated from the National University of Singapore, is the first online platform to enable anyone around the world to lend to the working poor in India.

Based in Singapore and India, the social enterprise has so far raised $530,000 globally, which has helped 13,000 Indians.

Milaap is also part of a trend where Indian companies open their offices here.

Indian start-up Idea Device will soon open its South-east Asia office here, prompted by uncertainties over the regulatory regime in India, and the availability of sales and marketing executives here. Founded in 2009, it designed an automation software called Epsilon that allows data centres to work faster with fewer faults and greater security.

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