T.Ware presented in the semi-final round, together with participants from Korea, Japan and India, and qualified for the finals. The top 6 teams, besides T.Ware from Singapore, were from Malaysia, India, Thailand, China and Philippines.
In these few days of sharing and presentations, several key learnings emerged:
- The importance of a network. A strong network helps build mutually beneficial relationships that could accelerate the development process. This could minimize the chance of us reinventing the wheel.
- A better understanding of the startup environment in other Asian countries. This will definitely go some way in preparing us for T.Ware’s expansion in the future.
- A better understanding of the difficulties that businesses in other fields face. It’s always good to be aware because lessons and solutions can be applicable across businesses.
- The importance of believing in our vision, and having the confidence in being an agent of change. Regardless of the business and the stage in which the business is in, all entrepreneurs go through difficult times and testing moments - your belief is what drives you.
We were confident that we would make it to the finals, but did not expect to win as other teams were really impressive – in both their business models and experiences, as well as in their presentations. We are humbled by the many passionate and successful entrepreneurs in the Asian community, and are proud to be part of this community. It’s great that the T.Ware team’s hard work is being recognized internationally, and we feel really happy that we have been able to make Singapore and NUS proud with this achievement. It will spur us to continue our work to 'bring touch to life'. We’re not yet over the euphoria, but it’s now back to the grind!
Moving forward, it will be exciting for T.Ware as we will be:
- Ramping up marketing efforts in Japan. It’s an innovative market that’s welcoming and open to new technology, and that’s always very interesting.
- Hiring personnel in Japan to provide technical support for our amazing Japanese distributor, Space96, and our customers in Japan who have purchased T.Jacket.
- Using the Kashiwanoha Open Innovation Lab (KOIL) co-working space that we won (with a 2-year lease) as a development branch to work together with research organizations like Keio University and University of Electro-Communications amongst others. This will boost our presence in Japan and the region to do more interesting work, and enable us to reach out to more people given the physical proximity.
- Looking into possible areas of collaboration with the various parties we have met during the past few days. It’s definitely exciting given all the possibilities and we’re really looking forward to this.
And most importantly, all of this would not have been possible without the support from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and NUS Enterprise. We’re extremely grateful to Prof Wong Poh Kam for his nomination – your nomination and belief in us has cemented our commitment to ‘bringing touch to life’. We also want to thank Dr Gary Rubin, Mr Wong Sang Wouh and Mr Kristav Childress for their time, and for their generosity in imparting the knowledge and skills they have from their years of experience in business and presentations – these have been invaluable, not just for AEA2014, but also for what lies beyond for T.Ware.