We Spoke to a S’pore Startup & the Truth isn’t a Bed of Roses

Startups have never gained as much traction in the public consciousness as right now, as more and more startups, well, start up. In the eyes of the public, startups have the glamour and excitement of throwing caution to the wind to begin something new, something that can shake up the landscapes of whatever industry they reside in, and basically be the Next Big Thing.

Look at Snapchat, Uber, Airbnb or Dropbox. All household names now, and all of them began as startups.

And in Singapore, there’s igloohome. 

igloohome, the new disruptor of traditional lock industry

It all started with winning a hackathon in 2015. This set the founders of igloohome in motion on their startup journey. From a team of 3, they soon grew to a full-fledged team of 16 today and are developing a line of smart locks that are disrupting the traditional lock industry.

Incorporating features such as PIN code generation, Bluetooth access coupled with the convenience of keyless access – igloohome is doing more than just solving the pain point for short-term rental property owners.

As we sat down to talk to them about #startuplife, Best, who is Head of Partnerships, shared that the three founders reside in Singapore and therefore wanted to tap upon the talent and resources in Singapore. Using Singapore as a base, they managed to establish several partnerships in the region, a notable one being Airbnb and have set their sights on growing as a global company.

When probed further about the type of person that would be best suited to work in a startup such as igloohome, Director of Marketing and Communications Shermaine highlighted traits such as “being a change-maker”, passionate, driven and ability to execute. Best also chimed in that people with a knack for technology, an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit as well as flexibility would help candidates clinch jobs in a startup. With the flourishing startup scene and ever-changing job landscape, we definitely think there is merit for individuals to “stay relevant and stay ahead”, a mantra echoed by NTUC Secretary-General last year at the U Future Leaders Summit 2016.

As many startups are looking at marking a mark in the global market, a forward-looking employee will be a great asset to the team.

It was, of course, never an easy journey

Image: igloohome.co

While life in a startup is certainly alluring, it’s not all a bed of roses and the igloohome team has faced a lot of challenges as well. From educating consumers about their products and how it can impact their lives to having to cater to specific market’s lock regulations; a lot of thought has to go into ensuring a good product-market fit.

Best and Shermaine recalled an instance where they spent a few weeks figuring out the different customs requirements when they were navigating how to do importing and exporting of their product and quipped that it would have been great to have some support or guidance to help bridge that gap and speed up the process.  

Concerns such as the ones brought up by the igloohome team are common and resonate within the startup community. With more and more people venturing to work for startups or even taking the path less travelled as a startup founder, NTUC saw the need to expand its representation to cover an increasing number of workers in startups as well as helping to lay the foundation of the future workforce through helping startups succeed.

An initiative, U Startup, was launched by NTUC to provide startups with funding opportunities, business know-how through tapping upon the Labour Movement’s expansive network and fuelling growth through potential talent. The initiative engaged over 1,000 startup founders so as to get a better understanding of the landscape and how to tailor programmes to help support the ecosystem.

NTUC Secretary-General Chan Chun Sing shared in a Facebook post that local startups face many challenges and that NTUC will continue to help startups leverage the Labour Movement’s network for pooportunities.

A step in the right direction is the inaugural Startup Career Fair on 30th of April which saw NTUC trying to help the startup community find talent. Over 100 startups took part and offered over 300 positions for hire.

Now, how about the future?

Image: kentoh / Shutterstock.com

Looking to the future, igloohome is looking to launch new smart locks and would be looking at those as new go-to-market products as milestones. In line with Singapore progressing towards being a Smart Nation, igloohome also envisions helping the sharing economy more and also potentially crossing over to find use cases in other industries (such as healthcare).

They see smart locks being around for awhile more especially with the idea of Smart Living and Smart Houses rapidly gaining popularity but are aware that there might be instances in future where they themselves could potentially be disrupted. This is why they are constantly innovating – having open APIs so that their device can be part of a larger Smart Home dashboard or even other smart devices.

With opportunities abound, these are very exciting times for igloohome and with the right support ecosystem and the ability to tap on expanded networks, they are poised to go far… and take our Singapore brand name with them.

Featured Image: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

This article was first published on goodyfeed.com in collaboration with the Labour Movement of Singapore as they foray into helping the startup ecosystem so as to increase their union representation across a larger segment of workers.

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Wen Xianda

Wen Xianda

Xianda plays way too much video games. Seriously, somebody should do something. Otherwise, he's either writing or looking for the next game. He doesn't see the sun much, unless it's for good food, the only thing that gets him out of the house.
Wen Xianda