When A NTU Student Project Created A Startup

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A startup for every startup

Isaac Tan, Caster Teoh, Wong Yan Ting and Olivia Ng were NTU students thinking of what to do for Final Year Project when the idea for creating The Platform Collective for startups hit them.

Issac Tan tells Vulcan Post in an interview that they were inspired by a quote by ESM Goh Chok Tong: “The first generation builds the company, the business and the wealth. The second generation runs it, maintains it. The third generation just spends it…I’m not saying (the younger generation) can’t do it, I’m saying the jury is out for them.”

The undergraduates found themselves disagreeing with the statement, having observed the movement of young Singaporeans breaking away from the status quo, and pursuing their passion by starting small businesses.

“That was when we realised that there was a startup for every startup,” Issac said.

He means that for every need that a startup has, there is another startup that can provide a service to address that need. The team envisioned an ecosystem where they could help link startups up, so that they could create an ecosystem where startups could help solve each other’s challenges.

Staying true to their vision

The Platform Collective is centred around the idea of bartering, where startups can provide their services to another startup in exchange for another service that they need.

When a NTU student project created a startup

When a NTU student project created a startup

This idea was met with skepticism by those who were concerned about cash flow, as well as those who think that the idea of creating an ecosystem of co-dependence is nothing short of being idealistic.

But the team held strong to their vision of creating a ‘kampung’ spirit where startups help each other grow in a close-knit startup community. This vision is what motivated the team from the start.

While bartering isn’t a process through which startups can earn money, the team believes that the bartering of services and expertise enables startups to not only help each other, but also to build relationships. Bartering would require discussions for both sides to work out a mutually beneficial arrangement, hence, this would help forge friendships as well.

2 things they did to build a community from scratch

Weekly feature

The Platform Collective supports our local startups by having a featured startup of the week on their website, with a video or photographs taken for free to promote them. This helps startups gain publicity and exposure at no cost.

Forums

Apart from their online platform, the team is looking to hold forums for startup owners and young people who want to start their own business, where they can learn, discuss, and connect with like-minded individuals.

In line with the concept of their platform, the food and venue for the forums would also be bartered. This helps them to keep cost low at bay.

 

Unsurprisingly, all of these plans revolve around the idea of building a community. “Sometimes it’s important, to know the person behind the business more than to expect that they would be helpful to you,” Isaac told Vulcan Post. “We are all about building a community, and that begins with real people, real businesses and a real concern for each other.”

 

This post was adapted from an article originally published on Vulcan Post.

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