WeWork’s first venue in Singapore is open for business, and the co-working company already has plans for more.Inside WeWork's first Singapore spaceWe spoke with WeWork's Southeast Asia MD "T" at WeWork Singapore's first location to understand more about the co-working giant's ambitions and plans in the country and region.Posted by Tech in Asia on Tuesday, 19 December 2017We are almost full to be honest.I’m not sure why – it’s just a random alignment, 20 and 200.Enterprises want to be as agile as a small company, and a smaller company wants to learn a lot from those larger enterprise companies.
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have found a way to direct the growth of hydrogel, a jelly-like substance, to mimic plant or animal tissue structure and shapes.The team has also filed a patent at CMU and NTU.In nature, plant or animal tissues are formed as new biomass is added to existing structures.The team found that higher oxygen concentrations slow down the cross-linking of chemicals in the hydrogel, inhibiting growth in that specific area.The new technique differs from previous methods which create 3D structures by adding/printing or subtracting layers of materials.Most living systems adopt a continuous growth model, so the new technique which mimics this approach will potentially be a powerful tool for researchers to study growth phenomena in living systems.
Ride-sharing giant Uber has partnered with Blackberry Messenger (BBM) to allow its users around the world, including Blackberry’s biggest market of Indonesia, to book rides with the messenger service in a bid to challenge market leader Go-Jek.The partnership was signed with Creative Media Works, which is a unit of Indonesian media group PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi Tbk and operates under the BBM banner as a stand-alone consumer focused business with teams operating from Waterloo, Mississauga, Ottawa, Singapore, Jakarta, UAE and South Africa.The BBM-Uber partnership will allow BBM Messenger users, including both Android and iOS users, to book an Uber ride without leaving the BBM app, or being required to have a standalone Uber app on their phone."With this partnership, BBM users can quickly request an Uber ride via BBM despite variations in quality of location, network speed or device features,” said Chan Park, Uber's general manager in Southeast Asia.Uber's biggest rival in Indonesia is Go-Jek, whose chief marketing officer Piotr Jakubowski spoke to the The Drum earlier this year about its domination in Indonesia.
Mobile multiplayer battle-arena game Vainglory has come a long way since its debut at Apple's iPhone 6 launch event.Though the game is currently played 3v3, come February, Vainglory is looking to shake things up with a new 5v5 mode it hopes will be as addictive as ever.Super Evil Megacorp, the company behind Vainglory, showed off the new mode at the Razer 2017 Vainglory World Championship event in Singapore, with pro players taking to the field to try it out.The move to the 5v5 mode means Vainglory is now, on paper, on par with its competitors, such as China's ridiculously popular Honour of Kings and Mobile Legends Bang Bang.For one, the graphics are now richer -- the new 5v5 map features 3 million polygons, running on 120 frames per second, and fog of war.The last addition is apparently a first for the mobile genre, and will shake things up competitively, especially since players will now have to use new scout cameras to ensure they have vision.
The Creator Collective is set to roll out its second content marketing bootcamp in January 2018 to empower creators who can later apply their learnings with brands like Singapore Tourism Board, OCBC Bank and Chan Brothers.The programme is organized by Brand New Media (BNM) and supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and the Asia Content Marketing Association (ACMA).The participants will undergo 10 half-day workshops where they will learn about writing compelling stories, creating content and building an online audience through content marketing.The winning group will receive a trophy, prize money to create a pilot project as well as a feature in a leading publication owned by SPH.“Our objective is to get a new breed of creators and companies in Singapore excited about brand storytelling.We also want to inspire existing creators to continue making engaging content and facilitate a new generation of commercial online content creators in Singapore.” said Joanne de Rozario, managing director of BNM.
As part of the year’s mission to Humanise Programmatic, the IAB Singapore Programmatic Committee hunted down the industry’s brightest talents behind the technology.By learning about sales, marketing, pricing and inventory management, she gained a strong understanding of how businesses segmented their audiences in the offline world and used data to forecast and plan their business goals.The dashboard simplifies the data story, enables precise targeting based on market trends and allows for timely and customized messaging when buying digital media.“There is a lot more that we can do with data for more relevance and therefore precision when planning our campaigns.Yuani will certainly be able to help any of her clients drive the use of data forward and make programmatic the new standard.”A pioneer at Amnet APAC, Chen has played a prominent role in the region.
To promote its data plans, Singtel has rolled out a humorous ad campaign featuring iPhone 8 and iPhone X.The ad conceptualized by BBH Singapore shows a father and daughter entering Singtel's store where all of a sudden they can hear a mysterious voice which happens to be their inner thoughts.The daughter's thoughts are to buy the iPhone upgrade while the dad wants to keep it for himself.In the end , the dad gives up and tells his daughter she can have the phone but the voice says that she can have it only during the next year upgrade.Diana Chen, Singtel’s vice president of mobile marketing, said: "We’ve all had that eureka moment when everything suddenly becomes crystal clear.That’s the moment of enlightenment we’ve shown in a fun way, when customers realise the tremendous benefits of combining the iPhone with our DATA X INFINITY and MobileShare plans.
Five months later, Spacemob founder and CEO Turochas “T” Fuad is WeWork’s managing director for Southeast Asia, and the company’s first space is officially open for business in Singapore’s Beach Center.This the 200th location for the global co-working company, while Singapore is its 20th country – a nice set of round numbers for Beach Center.The mix includes freelancers and individual entrepreneurs (what the company terms “creators”), startups and small businesses, and larger multinationals looking for flexible space and networking opportunities.Freelancers include people working in a range of fields, from accounting and finance to animation.Fuad doesn’t share more details about WeWork’s regional plans at the moment, but the company has already announced its second and third locations in Singapore.“You have banks and financial institutions, but you also have fintech startups that are interested in those spaces.”
Nike, Google and BBH Singapore have partnered for a remarkable online/offline project called Nike Hyper Court, which brings digital content to beautifully painted physical basketball courts, beginning in the Philippines.There are five Hyper Courts so far, spread across five Barangays (districts) of Manila.Each has been painted—with portraits of NBA stars LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving—by Arturo Torres, the illustrator known for his superhero-style illustrations of rappers and basketball stars.The Hyper Courts feature an on-court digital platform that players can tap into with their smartphones.Without having to use any data whatsoever, players can pull up all sorts of Nike content that will help them with their game—including training drills tailored for different types of players.They follow another celebrated digital/physical installation that BBH made for Nike last year—the “Unlimited Stadium.”
China’s online shopping giant wants to shake up the way people buy cars.Alibaba has just shown off its car vending machine.Before you rush to the weirdly-shaped building, here’s how it works.After scheduling a test drive in the app, fill in your info and snap a selfie.Now, as shown in Alibaba’s video, skip joyously to the car vending machine as reveries of a shiny new motor block out thoughts of the fast-approaching abyss.Once you get to the staffless Tmall Auto facility, named for Alibaba’s marketplace, you gain access via facial recognition.
Southeast Asia’s tech firms saw a record US$8.6 billion in disclosed funding in 2017, obliterating last year’s US$2.6 billion, according to the Tech in Asia Database.The region defied slowdowns in China and India’s tech industry.Grab’s US$2 billion in July was Southeast Asia’s biggest investment as the Malaysia-born, Singapore-based ride-hailing startup increased its war chest to fight Uber.Sea’s IPO also makes the list.Here’s the data from January to December 7, 2017:NOTE: This was originally published on August 17, 2017.
Companies like Singapore-based Hmlet and MetroResidences, itself a recipient of seed capital from 500 Startups, are transforming unused buildings into shared living spaces suited to the needs of modern tech workers and corporate executives.See: Rakuten invests $2.8m in Singapore-based serviced apartment startupThe main target demographic is lone expatriate workers who prefer short-term rentals, the possibility of saving money by sharing accommodation, and the opportunity to socialize with people in a similar situation to their own.Oxfordcaps co-founder and CEO Annu Talreja points out that international students who come to cities like Singapore to study have quite similar requirements.But they may be skeptical to rent it out themselves because they fear the students couldn’t pay rent on time or might not keep the property in the best condition.Interested owners approach Oxfordcaps, which then kits out the property as “no-frills” student accommodation.
Teabox, the company pioneered the concept of selling tea to direct to consumers online, has served up $7 million in fresh funding to grow its five-year-old business.This new infusion of capital — last tea joke, I promise — is a Series B round that takes Teabox, which has head offices in India and Singapore, to just shy of $15 million in funding to date.The round was led by Singapore’s RB Investments, with participation from existing backers — including Accel and billionaire U.S. businessman Robert M. Bass — and a portion of debt funding from Singaporean bank DBS in the mix.Newish competitor Vahdam Teas closed a $1.4 million Series A round this week, and it’s been some time since we last heard from Teabox — which closed a $6 million Series A around 18 months ago — but that’s because it has been hard at work, founder and CEO Kausshal Dugarr told TechCrunch.“Things are going great,” said in an interview.Teabox, for those not familiar with the company, sources teas direct from plantations in India and Nepal.
Johnnie Walker, as it’s long standing brand platform ‘Keep Walking’ suggests, is maintaining its sales figures (it is the number one scotch whisky in the world), despite people having greater choice and access to a wider variety of scotch brands.But with a portfolio that ranges from $20 to $3000 (or more for very special productions), the brand has allowed itself space to play within a few spheres, maintaining its core audiences and creating chances to play into newer spaces.Speaking to The Drum last month at Millennial 20/20 in Singapore, global director of Johnnie Walker, Lawrence Law sat down to explain how an older, larger brand that sits within a big name like Diageo is maintaining relevance.Law is steadfast in his commitment to traditional growth strategies, such as increased distribution and creating stories that help its historically most successful entry point to the brand: from father to son.“For us, the value chain and the supply of product and how they buy it is still fairly traditional but we are learning so fast from everything we are doing with the millennial generation that it’s making us change.If you read the excerpt from Charles Darwin’s thesis, it’s actually the species that adapts the fastest that wins, not the fittest.
Nike has created a basketball court in Manila, Philippines, that allows players to download training content and advice about basketball stars such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving.The Hyper Court allows people to download the content data-free, such as drill videos from coaches and gamification elements and scoring, creating tools within the court to help them improve their game.The visuals of the online elements and court were designed by Arturo Torres, who creates superhero themed illustrations of rappers and basketball stars in two New York Times bestselling books - The Rap Year Book and Basketball (and Other Things).Aste Gutierrez, creative director at BBH Singapore, said: “We knew Arturo would be the perfect artist to create the impact we wanted to achieve when launching Nike Hyper Court.His fame and love around basketball and his incredible talent combined allowed us to deliver what is a game changing experience for Manila’s basketball loving youth.”Nike says his involvement is intended to inspire young people from any background to get into sports and giving the content data-free is a core part of this.
Google Assistant has been flexing a lot of new skills as of late, from connecting you with local home services to telling you the name of a song playing nearby.Now, Google has announced Assistant is available to use on even more devices, coming to Android tablets running Android 7.0 Nougat and 6.0 Marshmallow, and phones running 5.0 Lollipop.Assistant for tablets will be rolling out over the next week to US users that have English set as their language.Assistant for Android 5.0 Lollipop has already started to roll out to users with English set as their language in the US, UK, India, Australia, Canada, and Singapore, and users with their language set as Spanish in the US, Mexico, and Spain.It will also shortly come to Italy, Japan, Germany, Brazil, and Korea.
There’s been pause since Southeast Asia last welcomed fresh venture capital, but one reload is on its way after NSI Ventures, an early investor in Indonesian unicorn and Uber rival Go-Jek, announced a first close of its second fund.The firm said it has pulled in $75 million of committed capital from existing LPs for the new fund.Beyond an early investment in Go-Jek, which is closing in on new investment at a valuation exceeding $2.5 billion, NSI’s maiden fund backed health-focused insurance brokerage CXA Group, online credit service FinAccel and restaurant reservation startup Chope among others in Southeast Asia.The plan is to continue the same investment thesis in fund two, which will mean a typical check size of $3 million to $5 million for Series A deals onwards with a focus on Southeast Asian startups operating marketplaces and/or the e-commerce space.This time around, the Singapore-based firm is also broadening out to target emerging verticals like fintech, health tech and education.On that note, it announced a first investment from the new vehicle: leading a $5 million Series A fundraise for Biofourmis, a Singapore-based company that has developed a health analytics platform.
Google today announced Google Assistant is now available for Android tablets in the U.S. and additional smartphones using Android.Android tablets must be running Android 7.0 Nougat or 6.0 Marshmallow and set to English to use Google Assistant.Google’s AI assistant on tablets can control smart home devices, access your calendar, set reminders, answer questions, and tell you jokes.Google Assistant support was also extended today to smartphones running Android 5.0 Lollipop for English users in the U.S., U.K., India, Australia, Canada, and Singapore, as well as Spanish speakers in Mexico, Spain, and the U.S., and users in Italy, Japan, Germany, Brazil, and Korea.Google Assistant was first made available to smartphones running Marshmallow and Nougat versions of the Android operating system in February.In addition to being available on tablets, Google Assistant has been integrated into Android TVs, Pixel Notebook, Pixel Buds wireless headphones, and three Google Home smart speakers.
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Singtel has said it has increased its online transactions five-fold since 2012 and owes this to digitising its off and online customer experiences.The Singaporean telecoms giant said it increased investment into digital innovation, with the main aim of creating a more seamless experience between its online and offline shopping environments.The investment from the brand ranges from building stronger digital operations, helping customers to easily do stock checks, order online and collect in store and compare products, to more innovative ideas around virtual and live chats.Gan Siok Hoon, vice president of retail and channel sales, consumer Singapore, Singtel, said that as well as the sales figures, the company was happy with its investment because it was starting to pick up awards that recognises its improved customer experience.“We have integrated our online and offline touchpoints and enhanced our suite of omni-channel solutions to meet the changing needs of consumers.Our digital innovations have helped boost our productivity and garnered us some of the industry’s much coveted recognition.