16 June 2014 – Now in its 15th year, Start-Up@Singapore (S@S) is the largest and most prominent start-up competition in Singapore and has provided many start-ups with the boost needed to get their ideas off the ground.
This year, the new Infocomm Challenge track was introduced to inspire participants to create products and services that will enhance productivity and efficiency in managing information. The Collappe team beat five other teams to win S@S' Infocomm Challenge late last month. The multidisciplinary team is made up of, Weilson Tan, who is in the third year of his SoC Comms & Media undergraduate degree, Toni Jan, who is a second year PhD student in the field of Human Computer Interaction, Jayden Ooi, Rax Suen and Ivan Chong, who all majored in E-Commerce and graduated last year, and Joey Wang, who also graduated last year, with a Chemistry degree. As the Infocomm Challenge Champions, the team also won a cash prize of S$15,000.00.
Collappe is a chat-based collaboration mobile app that has been incorporated with key organisation tools such as meeting scheduling, timelines, task assignment and task-lists. About a year ago, Jayden, Rax, Toni and Joey met in Professor Juzar Motiwalla’s CS4880 Digital Entrepreneurship module, where, after observing that many students were eschewing email and other Productivity Apps in favour of ‘productivity-function-less’ messaging apps like WhatsApp to coordinate their group assignments, they decided to build a mobile app designed specifically for students to manage the intricacies of group assignment collaboration. Their idea was well received by Professor Motiwalla as well as their peers, who said they could see themselves using an app like that. Encouraged, they wrote a proposal and pitched for SoC’s $10,000 VaSCo grant. A month later, they were awarded the grant and development began. They soon realised that they needed to expand their development, and that is when Ivan and Weilson came on board. Since then, through connections supplied by Professor Motiwalla and The Furnace, Collappe has piqued the interest of major industry players like StarHub and Microsoft Ventures.
Their entry into S@S was spurred by necessity – the team needed funding for their beta launch. With the exception of Jayden, who won two case competitions as an SoC student, S@S was the Collappe team’s first competition. According to Jayden, they worked extensively with their mentors to refine their pitch, and believe that they won with hard work, conviction and a passion to deliver a product that helps students. For the team, it was heart-warming and humbling to receive recognition for their idea. Jayden added, “We want to thank the many professors in SoC and The Furnace for the never-ending support, mentorship and advice, especially Prof. Juzar who has [been with us] from day one. We also want to give thanks to one of the judges, Dr. Andrew Ang, Director of A-Star Infocomm Research, who followed up with the team after the competition, for his valuable insights and comments. We want to put Collappe into the hands of every student around the world, and we are excited with what is ahead. In short, we are students ourselves and we just want to help students manage their projects more effectively. That thought kick-started everything.”
Collappe beta will be launched in conjunction with the start of the new NUS academic year, specifically with the SoC and Faculty of Engineering Orientation Week campaigns. Jayden made it a point to mention that the SoC community, including the Computing Club and student camp organisers, have been very supportive of Collappe.