After the easy-bake oven, consumer electronics has advanced by leaps and bounds with the introduction of Rotimatic – the world’s first robot that bakes fresh homemade roti, a flatbread that makes up the staple food diet of the Indian culture.
Entering into this new age of cooking, this idea formed and expanded when Pranoti Nagarkar Israni, a mechanical engineer and her husband Rishi Israni, a computer science graduate spent S$20,000 to create the Rotimatic prototype which won the Singapore Start-Up Competition in 2009 alongside with financial support from investors in their startup, Zimplistic.
Revealed by Tech in Asia, the Singapore-based startup company, Zimplistic since then has raised a staggering amount of US$11.5 million from NSI Ventures and Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC) in their series B investment round held last July 2015.
But moving to realize the Rotimatic faced various challenges as Pranoti Nagarkar Israni explained the difficulties behind converting the four physical moves of making the roti – measuring, kneading, flattening, and roasting to be fully automatic as well as compact and affordable.
“The perfect roti has three layers, and it needs to puff up so the hot air can cook it from the inside,” said co-founder Pranoti Nagarkar Israni in an interview with Mashable. ”It is then do you realize how complex humans are when you try to replicate that with a machine.”
Though it took them 8 years and US$14.5 million, but Rotimatic was finally brought to reality and ready for shipment to the Singaporeans and United State citizens that have pre-ordered the product in 2014. With the pre-orders numbering more than 8000 orders at the retail price of US$999 per unit, Zimplistic has already bagged US$ 5 million worth of sales.
Making one roti every two minutes, Rotimatic has thus revolutionised the way the Indian cuisine can be made. With the machine, people can skip the hard work behind the process of making roti as users now only have to add in the ingredients and push a few buttons selecting the preferred thickness, softness as well as quantities to enjoy a delicious meal of roti.
Rotimatic is the world’s first robot that makes fresh homemade rotis and wraps. The idea dates back to 2008 as co-founder Pranoti Nagarkar Israni found making roti, from the process of kneading the dough to cooking it at the hot stove, to be tedious and time-consuming. As a solution, she created this fully-automated roti-maker that can now cook up to 20 rotis in one round using less than 30 minutes which only requires the easy steps of adding wheat flour, water, and oil and pushing a few buttons.
Singapore’s ambition to be a ‘Smart Nation’ is moving forward as MarvelStone, an Asian private investment group has announced on Tuesday that it will open the world’s largest fintech hub in Singapore next November.
The facility will be known as Lattice80, spanning over 30,000 square feet and to be located in Singapore’s Central Business District, an area that is notably close to the city-state’s key financial institutions, stock exchange, and regulators.
Joe Seunghyun Cho, Chairman of Marvelstone in Crowdfund Insider said, “We think Singapore is the right place for a global fintech hub for a number of reasons. Singapore, being a traditional financial and trading hub, has the legal infrastructure and access to global investors that budding fintech companies would look for.”
Reportedly to be an independent non-profit initiative, one of Lattice80 objective is to establish a global fintech connection. Besides, the project is also aimed to promote local fintech innovations through providing innovation support schemes to existing company and financial institutions.
While for fintech startups prototype, programs such as workspace, events, and educational programs is provided to help develop and expand their business models oversea. These projects are moving smoothly as Marvelstone works closely with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Gina Heng, the CEO of Marvelstone furthermore added, “The time is right for innovation, and people are more receptive to the use of technology in financial services. Lattice80 aims to support the fintech ecosystem in Asia and bridge global players to the region.”
Besides MAS, the Marvelstone Group also seeks to bring partners onboard as well, voicing out their intentions to collaborate with other regional Fintech hubs like London’s Level 39, Australia’s Stone and Chalk as well as Israel’s The Floor to create a global ecosystem for fintech innovation.
SMRT, alongside Cyclect Electrical of JV SMRT Corporation have established a joint venture company in conjunction with Cyclect Electrical Engineering. Cyclect Electrical Engineering is a Singapore-based business which serves the industrial plant building industry including offshore, marine, transport and logistic segments of the industry. The newly formed joint venture, known as SMRT-Cyclect Power, will establish electrical systems for both land transportation as well as supply of rail system solutions including the likes of the Singapore’s own Light Rail Transit System and the Mass Rapid Transit System by subscribing to 60 percent of the joint venture’s cash consideration, approximately S$600,000 all internally funded. The initial targeted focus of the business is Australia, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand with plans for future expansion into China, India, and Africa.
PSL Holdings has raised S$2.96 million in a private placement subscription agreement with three investors in order to issues 7,734,000 new shares at an issuing price of 38.25 cents per share. Representing a discount of 10 percent to the weighted average price of 42.5 percent based on its company shares. Sources at PSL offer that the corporation will utilize 80 percent of proceeds to enhance expansion and growth while 20 percent will be used for working capital.
In related Asia news, wellness and health screening Asiamedic has entered discussion regarding merger and acquisitions in relation to new business opportunities. A source from the firm responded to questions amid unusual trading reported by the Singapore Exchange. With an intraday high of 10.6 cents, an increase of 51 percent prior to the previous day’s close of seven cents. A final closing of 9.1 cents was a result of 27.5 million shares traded. Asiamedic reports to shareholders that no certain agreements have been reached advising shareholders to be cautious in trading as the company explores expansion opportunities hoping to enhance value and increase growth across the board.
Reaching their targeted amount of RM175K (approximately US$40K) within 24 hours of their pitchIN Equity Crowdfunding, public attention has been centred on a Malaysian logistics startup company known as RunningMan.
A platform that offers instant delivery services, RunningMan caters the needs of those that wish to save a trip to their nearby shops or restaurants as with RunningMan riders stationed at strategic points within the coverage area, deliveries are able to be made within an hour.
The startup though launched in May 2015, was however already in play during founders Andrew Chee and Tan Wei Yong’s university days. The idea was Initially borne out of their intention to generate sufficient income to cover student expenses and cater the needs of hungry but busy students in the university.
And as the idea continue to grow and show potential, they decided to nurture it. Making history with their pitchIN Equity Crowdfunding held on August 22nd which has raised funds worth US$40K led by Nexea Angels, BizAngel Network, and WTF Accelerator.
“We are very happy to see that investors believe in us. We may be a young team but we have proven with our results that we have the potential to become a leading player in the on-demand economy,” said Andrew Chee, the Founder and CEO of RunningMan.
Despite moving from food deliveries to full last-mile logistic services or with its user base expanding from 200 to 7000, RunningMan continues to deliver results. To date, they have achieved an averaged 20% monthly growth without going into the red.
Intending to continue their success, Chee further adds that “The funds acquired will be used to build better mobile and IT solutions as well as to expand and cover the full area of Klang Valley to assist consumers and businesses with their delivery and purchasing needs.”
RunningMan serves as an e-commerce platform which allows users to connect to shops located within their vicinity. The application facilitates instant delivery service whereby users can pick their desired products and have runners deliver them straight to the user’s doorstep. The RunningMan delivery team has sent various items ranging from food and groceries to cooking gas and pet supplies as per requested, all typically sent within an hour.
Grab, formerly known as GrabTaxi and the largest company rivaling Uber in Southeast Asia has raised an amount of US$750 million in their Series F investment rounds. The oversubscribed funding was said to be led by Japan’s SoftBank and China’s Didi Kuaidi.
This achievement is quite the milestone for the company which has launched in 2012, as with the closure of this new round of funding, the top ride-hailing app is now at a valuation of US$2.3billion, as reported by TechCrunch, making it the second largest tech company in Southeast Asia, after Garena which was reported to be at US$3.75 billion.
The funds collected will be dedicated to several projects promoting market expansion as well as localized service, an insight that Grab founder and chief executive, Anthony Tan says is the key to consolidate and expand their spot in the Southeast Asia region.
“There is a clear advantage of being local which brought us to form global partnerships that include other local players”, said Anthony in a CNBC interview. “It’s about the reliance on their better understanding of local knowledge and also a way in how we make sure that users stay exclusively on our platform, never having the need to move to another app.”
Thus, looking at Grab’s partnerships with China’s Didi Kuaidi, India’s Ola and U.S.-based Lyf, it is a view that covers a broader market paired with local expertise. In this case, Uber will have to step up its game faced with this intense competition, furthermore aided by this dose of cash injection.
But ultimately, for Grab, the funds will not only be able to strengthen their ability to pursue their long-term goals, of continuing market penetration and leadership but also to construct their startup vision as well, and that is “to drive Southeast Asia transportation forward and transform the region’s mobile internet ecosystem”.
Offering car, motorbike and taxi-hailing services in a total of 31 cities in 6 countries, Grab is an online transportation network and technology company that offers ride-sharing services in the Southeast Asia region which includes countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines.