TEP Story this time is a special edition. It is a story about a Singaporean startup called Intraix Pte. Ltd., which used TEP’s Global Partner Program and worked at KOIL during their stay in Japan from September 14th to 18th, 2015. An experience visiting KOIL at Asian Entrepreneurship Award (AEA) 2015, an international business competition co-hosted by TEP, made Intraix to decide bring almost the whole team.
What is your business / product about?
Intraix is a Singapore-based company that deals with Energy Management Solutions. We started the company doing Energy Monitoring but have scaled into providing Smart Controls Solutions, especially on the aspect of Air-Conditioning. Our Flagship Product Klug consists of a Smart Hub which is able to connect to multiple sensors to provide environmental data inputs to our backend system and also Klug Air - A Smart Air-Conditioning Thermostat used to control Split Unit Air-Conditionining Systems.
Have you already expanded your business abroad?
Other than in Singapore, Intraix has a couple of partners in Taiwan and Indonesia but we are actively looking for partnerships which we can forge in Japan. Our team strongly feels that the Japanese Market has tremendous potential for our product offerings and the timing as well as market conditions are just right for Intraix to move into this target market.
How many people are there in your company?
We have 9 people in our company at the moment, including the founders.
How did you join AEA 2015 and what made you decide to join?
I first knew about AEA2015 from NUS Enterprise, who is a partner of AEA. the opportunity to validate the idea among investors, mentors and industrial gurus certainly was a good push and motivation for ourselves joining the AEA 2015. We had the mentality that even if we do not win the competition, the exposure and the feedback, along with experiences would be very useful in learning about this market.
※NUS Enterprise…Incubation project founded in 2002 and operated by NUS(National University of Singapore). NUS Enterprise cooperates with with NUS using various kinds of resource to support students who are willing to be entrepreneurs.
※AEA(Asian Entrepreneurship Award)…AEA is a business competition co-hosted by TEP. About 30 startups from all over the Asian countries come to Japan every year to compete their business and earn the global point of view for their business. AEA 2015 was held from 24th to 26th May, 2015.
Did anything change after AEA? Any influence?
Our team did gather quite alot of inputs from the judges and mentors during AEA which made us more convinced about the market potential of Japan. Also, i had a couple of 1-to-1 session with mentors which sculpted our value proposition quite a little.
What was your purpose to use KOIL?
We intended to use KOIL as our temporary office for 5 days while making the best of our time to meet up with potential partners / investors and mentors throughout the stay there. Also, I brought my entire team from Singapore down to have a good feel of KOIL as it could potentially be our softlanding spot should we have intention to set up an operating office in Tokyo.
How long did you stay at Kashiwanoha?
We spent 5 days in Kashiwanoha.
What did you and your team do during your stay? (for business)
Most of the time was spent in meetings with Potential Partners (Such as Nitto Kogyo, Mitsui Fudosan and JFE) and Mentors ( Mr Donald Soo, Mr Masatoshi Ueno, Mr Masaru Murai) during our stay there. We also carried out our daily operations, i.e. Software and Hardware Development when we were in KOIL.
How was the mentoring by TEP angels? What did you ask them and do you have any further expectations from them?
It was alot of validation of the business idea and getting inputs on how to penetrate the market. We introduced the company and product to the TEP Angels and there was a lot of brainstorming and feedback coming from the Angels with regards to how we should tackle this market. One of the strategies was working with Property Developers as a distribution partner as a first point of entry into this market.
◀Klug Hub：Main product of Intraix
How was using KOIL and staying at Kashiwanoha?
KOIL was great, the place was very condusive for discussion with a proper system. Our team stayed at the Mitsui Gardens hotel and all thanks to Miss Ryoko Gotoh, we managed to discuss a very good rate for lodging in the apartments during our stay there. It was very convenient with Lalaport just a short walk away and our team could concetrate very well on our development and business objectives without too much distractions from the place.
What is your plan for Japanese business in the near future?
After the trip, our first plans was to secure a pilot in Japan to testbed our system for the Japanese Ecosystem, i.e. Japan runs on a climate with 4 seasons while in a tropical country like Singapore, we have summer all year round. There is definitely a need for localization of our product to the Japanese Market. Upon securing a pilot, we definitely have the intention to set up an office in Tokyo and in this case, KOIL seems like the perfect landing spot for Intraix.
What was most impressive during your stay this time?
Our entire team was very impressed by the development of Kashiwanoha Smart City and it’s grand vision to build into a Sustainable and Scalable Smart City Ecosystem. We are definitely looking out for what’s next for Kashiwanoha and hopefully, Intraix can be part of the Smart City Ecosystem as well.
Any messages to TEP?
Our team would like to say a big thank to TEP for hosting Intraix during our stay there. It is definitely a pleasure to be working together with you guys and we really appreciate all the help provided. The mentors were really great and you guys provided a strong infrastructure to what startups really need - market validation. Once again, on behalf of Intraix, thank you very much TEP!
Any messages to other global partners and the startups in Asia?
TEP was instrumental and great and I would strongly recommend engaging TEP if any company has intention of penetrating the Japanese Market. The array of mentors and ease of settling in will help any company greatly if there in intention to look into Japan as a potential market for the company.