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Business Advice

Tech start-up ready to flex its apps

Singapore firm Anideo seeking funds to promote smartphone apps in US
The Straits Times - February 2, 2012
By: Grace Chng
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Tech start-up ready to flex its apps Anideo co-founders (from left) Arun Thampi, Andrew Solimine and Kent Nguyen. -- PHOTO: ANIDEO

A SINGAPORE technology start-up partially funded by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin is bolstering its war chest and gearing up to promote its smartphone apps in the United States.

Anideo, as the firm is called, received its initial funding in 2009 and has built about 10 apps for Apple's iPhone and iPad.

Two of them - Denso, a video recommendation app, and Huntville, a casual game - have recorded tens of thousands of downloads, mainly in the US, China and Singapore.

Anideo co-founder Andrew Solimine, a Harvard classmate of Mr Saverin, wants to create greater awareness of the apps, which are free for now.

One step is unleashing a big promotion in the US to reach the booming market for iPhone and iPad apps.

'We hope to get larger volumes of downloads for the two apps,' said Mr Solimine.

He is now preparing to raise another round of funds - in the low millions - to push the marketing plan. He will also be hiring more developers and Web designers to improve the two apps.

Mr Solimine did not say how many people he will hire, but he is willing to take on as many 'smart people as I can get' - including recruiting specialists working overseas and relocating them to Singapore.

The firm also developed Today's News 2, an app for The Guardian newspaper, and Fotobook, which allows people to download photos from Facebook.

Mr Solimine, an American, said: 'We developed the apps and did all the programming. Eduardo's advice was good because he helped us to identify the product features and define the product strategy.'

The initial funding, which totalled less than $1 million, came from angel investors including Mr Saverin.

Mr Solimine said: 'I had been talking to Eduardo in New York about starting an engineering-focused company with the aim of building great products.

'One day, Eduardo visited Singapore and came back with praises for the country. He said I should start my company here.

'I was young, had nothing to lose and so decided to pack up and come here.'

He arrived in 2009 and stayed with Mr Saverin in the Orange Grove area before moving to Chinatown a few months ago.

During the first four to five months in Singapore, the men hung out at Hackerspace in Bussorah Street, where programmers and engineers gather for technical events.

They also visited universities and attended start-up conferences and events.

Their network brought them into contact with Anideo's two other co-founders, Mr Arun Thampi and Mr Kent Nguyen, both computer science graduates from the National University of Singapore.

'We met and hired Arun and Kent and began to do serious coding and programming in our office in Boat Quay,' said Mr Solimine.

They now have five students on the payroll helping them to improve the Huntville app.

Mr Solimine said: 'Anideo started out as a development lab. We didn't have any product in mind. We are engineering-focused. We wanted to develop a company that revolved around our strengths.'



A fitting success story