Contributor posts

Hungry for foodtech innovation

Improving food safety in SEA with tracking and tracing technologies by Tan Aik Jin, Vertical Solutions Lead at Zebra Technologies APAC

The Zebra Technologies’ Food Safety Supply Chain Vision Study found that more than half of the consumers (51 per cent) cite the fear of food borne illness and disease as the reason to learn more about where their food comes from, especially with Singapore researchers recently reporting that the COVID-19 virus can survive in frozen meat for up to three weeks.

As a result, food manufacturers are confronted with the issues of food supply chain transparency. At the same time, they need to meet food safety standards, avoid recalls, maintain compliance, and earn customer trust and loyalty.

Food supply chains will need to bear increased pressure to deliver quality and safe food from the farm, to the factory and finally to the consumer’s table. Concurrently, countries like Singapore, an emerging food tech hub of Asia, must quickly address these issues.

The age of the super farmer: How technology is enabling the average farmer by Xin Yi Lim, Executive Director, Sustainability & Agri Impact at Pinduoduo

Farmers can now harness new technologies to monitor what is happening on their farms in real time, optimise production through remote sensing and automate operations with precision farming practices and even robots.

Moreover, this greater visibility of production, together with online marketplaces, can reduce waste and make pricing more aligned with supply and demand dynamics. At the seed level, agricultural biotechnology gives scientists the tools to alter food at the DNA level to become resistant to pests and environmental factors.

COVID-19 has stressed global food systems and poses a threat, particularly to vulnerable populations. Technology will be the key enabler to help us meet this common challenge. By embracing innovative technologies to meet the growing global demand for food, we can and will make a difference. Let’s take a look at some of the up-and-coming technologies.

How small and medium-sized restaurants in Taiwan leveraged digital tools to survive by Ken Chen, co-founder of iChef

According to the latest stats by the Department of Statistics, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), as of February 2020, 54 per cent of all F&B outlets in Taiwan started offering delivery (compared to 40 per cent in 2018 and 47 per cent in 2019).

When COVID-19 hit, the F&B industry was forced to find creative ways to increase sales. Restaurants began seeking delivery arrangements that did not involve delivery providers or third party platforms.

Hence, the need for restaurants to streamline their in-house ordering website and manage multiple platforms more efficiently emerged.

From founders to founders

Couples running a business together: Why it’s not as taboo as you think by Fanny See, COO and co-founder at Detrack

My partner, Dason Goh and I are married for 13 years, and we are also co-founders of Detrack, a logistics tech startup that created Singapore’s leading delivery tracking Software-as-a-Service platform.

Dason and I founded the company when we discovered a lack of visibility in last-mile deliveries, could not find a suitable solution in the market, then decided to take it upon ourselves to create the technology from scratch.

Our journey to success has been anything but easy. As with any coworker or colleague within the same department, we faced numerous challenges and obstacles and did not always see eye to eye on all matters.

It was through open and honest communication that we built rapport with each other, nurturing and sustaining a healthy working and romantic relationship, allowing them to successfully scale their business into its present-day achievements.

How did we manage and balance our professional and personal lives? We would like to share five important tips on running a business together as a power couple.

Why we should embrace a startup mindset in today’s volatile economic climate by Han Phay, founder and Managing Partner, Phay and Partners

While the Singapore economy seems to be getting an optimistic forecast, it is not time for us to slacken our efforts. With the unpredictable nature of the economy, businesses continue to face a daunting question:

How do I ensure my company survives through this uphill battle and continues towards success? That’s an area that we can look to startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for.

A UOB SME Outlook 2021 Study showed that three in five SMEs who embraced going digital are expecting a growth in revenue and seven in 10 SMEs feel more confident in their business recoveries after adopting digital initiatives.

The startups and SMEs in Singapore have managed to stay afloat regardless of the economic situation and a large portion of this achievement can be attributed to their entrepreneurial mindset and methodologies.

Tech scouting and innovation partnerships: How co-creation can foster growth post-COVID-19 by Michael Goh, Deputy Head, Innovation and Technology at IPI

When management consulting firm McKinsey and Company surveyed over 200 organisations last year, more than 90 per cent said that they expect the pandemic to fundamentally change the way they do business, and almost as many believed that it will have a lasting impact on customers’ wants and needs.

By studying past crises, the firm also found that companies that invest in innovation during a crisis are likely to reap benefits in the difficult period and for years thereafter.

Those that did so in the 2007-2009 Great Recession outperformed peers in normalised market capitalisation by 10 per cent during the recession, and up to 30 per cent for several years afterwards.

To maximise their innovation capability, firms must look externally, to keep abreast of trends, identify useful emerging technologies and pinpoint opportunities for partnerships.

Trends in the fintech and money world

Are banks dying? Why fortune favours the bold and ASEAN’s neo banks by Kaspar Situmorang, CEO of BRI Agro

The similarities between taxis in the US and most legacy banks in Southeast Asia today are uncanny: inefficient and unreliable service, dependent on protectionist systems, refusal to adapt to the new digital reality, and even widespread discrimination against certain client segments deemed low-value (like micro-businesses).

Even as 2020 arrived, legacy banks still expected regulators to protect them from neo banks and other digital usurpers. After all, how did the P2P craze pan out in China in 2014?

A proper meltdown. Banks sat safely ensconced in the knowledge that regulators had their backs, afraid of triggering another financial disaster.

New-age internet platforms are breeding grounds for financial crimes. Here’s how to tackle them by Douglas Wolfson, Director – Commercial Strategy, LNRS

The online world is an easy place to hide your identity and large amounts of money routinely change hands for opaque purposes. Take for example online gaming platforms, where players routinely pay for in-game options or credits.

These non-transparent transactions provide a legitimate explanation for anyone who wants to hide the source of a large amount of money.

Live streaming, where celebrities and influencers receive gifts or sell products, is another appealing option for money launderers. A series of fake accounts acts as a conduit for money transfers that are difficult to track.

Accelerating Asian IPO markets: How long can the initial public offering boom last? by Daglar Cizmeci, Investor, Founder and CEO

Asian initial public offerings have followed these wider trends around the world, with the market accelerating at a rapid pace following on from an economic recovery in late 2020.

As a result, Asian companies have recorded their best quarter for listings of all time, owing to greater levels of liquidity during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as lower interest rates and rallying stock markets.

Firms raised US$49.3 billion through IPO share sales both domestically and overseas.

As the data shows, the amount Asian companies have raised through new listings in Q1 of 2021 has been consistently double the level of revenue generated for at least a decade.

Such a significant acceleration has inevitably led to questions as to how long such an unprecedented boom can last across Asian markets and beyond. Can IPOs sustain the public listing gold rush throughout 2021? Or will we see the market run out of steam sooner rather than later?

How a global pandemic changed (and continues to change) the way we pay by Kelvin Phua, Head of Global Payment Networks at PPRO

After a continued global effort to flatten the curve and months of social distancing, COVID-19 is finally in the rear-view. People around the world are relieved to be back to life as it was, but will things ever truly be the same?

COVID-19 shook the global economy as the largest pandemic since the Spanish flu in the early 20th century. Social distancing drastically shifted consumer behaviour and introduced a new set of challenges to stores and shoppers alike. But, as humanity has always done, we came together, adapted, and innovated.

We’ve entered a more stable 2021, adjusted to a new normal, and now we’re pausing to reflect on what we’ve just overcome. Let’s take a closer look at how payments and global commerce have changed in the last 18 months.

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