by Sudhir Ahluwalia | Negosentro.com |
Two Engineers, Nikhiljit Singh from Singapore and Noufal from India were participants in the Startup Garage program in the University of South California, USA. The innovators decided to drop out of the program mid way and return to Singapore to start their own venture. In June 2015 they created a company. They named it Spade Techs.
The two pooled their savings together. They applied and received a startup grant from the Singapore government. With this, they created a unique Head up display product that would enhance safety in driving. 208 backers on Kickstarters then gave the innovation a heads up contributing 79286 US dollars to the venture.
As part of my continuing coverage of startup companies, I got around having a chat with Nikhiljit Singh, the young CEO of the company. Nikhiljit had unveiled the HUD device, that they branded as iScout, in the recently concluded startup event Rise organized by the web summit people. The event was organized in Hongkong, Investors, Nikhiljit told me, have expressed interest and the two were in deep discussions to secure first round of funding.
iScout is a smart Heads up Display unit. It can be mounted on the dashboard of an automobile. The device connects to the driver’s smartphone through blue tooth. Simultaneously the unit syncs with the vehicle. Blind spot camera’s can be integrated with the unit. These enable the driver to keep an eye on blind spots on turns.
The device console displays virtual road parameters to the driver while driving. As the device is mounted at the driver’s eye level one can view the console without taking the eye off the road. The device monitors vehicle parameters like fuel gauges and over speeding. The inbuilt GPS device can direct the driver to the nearest fuel station for a refill and a warning is sounded when the vehicle crosses the set speed limit.
The advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things have futuristic potential too. Smart devices like iScout have the potential of getting integrated as true IOT devices in electric cars. Electric cars have a strong application backbone that is responsible for driving these units.
Nikhiljit and Noufal are probably already dreaming of building such connected systems. Today, however, the focus is to get the first round of funding and put the venture on a sound financial footing.
With the demo version of iScout ready and tested in Singapore, the entrepreneurs expect the Beta version of the system to be ready by July. The venture is already registered in the US. The plan is to relocate to the US where there exists a bigger market for connected products like iScout.
I found Nikhiljit to be drawn towards the excellent innovation ecosystem available in the Silicon valley. This appears to be a growing trend of startups from Singapore. Nikhiljit is currently using an outsourcing group based out of Bangalore India for writing the software of iScout. He and Noufal appear satisfied with the work of this group.
I think this is an indicator of a growing global trend where innovation with structural reform and growth in India, Philippines and other parts of the developing world is becoming multi locational. Bangalore is emerging center where a lot of research and developing work is getting done.
[Feature image via Bakerclub.co]
Sudhir Ahluwalia is a business consultant. He has been management consulting head of Asia’s largest IT outsourcing company Tata Consultancy Services, business advisor to multiple companies, columnist and author of upcoming book on herbs-Holy Herbs. He has been a member of the Indian Forest Service. His webpage is: www.sudhirahluwalia.com