2 Local Techpreneurs Aim for the Best (BruDirect (Brunei))

Two standout tech companies under the iCentre and Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) – one an award winner working towards expanding its business abroad and the other a newly established start-up looking to get involved in the sports industry – shared their plans with the media yesterday for going forward.

One of the entrepreneurs is Haji Muhammad Saufi bin Haji Jamahat, the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of DotRoot Technologies. DotRoot is a seven-man start-up founded in 2013 that has won a number of business and ICT awards at the national level.

In September 2013, they attained third place at the Brunei ICT awards and later that year in December emerged as the champions of the Ignite Entrepreneurship Challenge – the biggest business plan award in the country, beating out more than 100 entries to become the youngest ever winning team.

The company is best known for FoodFuel, an app that offers users an innovative approach to the traditional conundrum of meal planning. Via FoodFuel users can order their meal ahead of time or while on the go, so that by the time they arrive at a participating restaurant, their order will be ready for dining in or takeaway.

In addition, using the app earns users a special in-app currency called ‘fuel points’, which they can accumulate to fill their FuelBar and get rewards, discounts and many other benefits.

The DotRoot CEO and co-founder shared that the app had taken off well, gaining good traction. The experience of operating FoodFuel in Brunei Darussalam has taught his company important lessons, as well as helped them discover areas in which the app could be improved.

Notably, FoodFuel has garnered the company international attention and DotRoot Technologies is now working on designing a FoodFuel app for the Philippines.

Development on the app for use by Brunei’s regional neighbour is currently at 50 per cent, Haji Muhammad Saufi shared, adding that this version, based on the lessons learned from its predecessor, will be much more complete and robust.

In addition, this project has the company working with a partner “who has more direct control over the restaurants there”, he said, before highlighted that a number of restaurants in the Philippines have already voiced interest in testing out the app once it is available there.

Speaking on the iCentre, Haji Muhammad Saufi was full of praise, saying that it is the ideal place for start-up companies to go.

Another entrepreneur, Faezal Murni, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of ReSpin Labs, a start-up company and iCentre incubatee that aims to get involved in the sports industry.

ReSpin Labs is a finalist from the BEDB IGNITE Entrepreneurship Challenge 2015, and participant in a business exposure trip to Silicon Valley, California, in the United States.

The company’s first project, Faezal shared, is GolfUs – an app dedicated to golfers. As he explained, “the app allows golfers to compete in fun online leader board rankings and tournaments with other users around the world. Users can join this tournament just by playing their routine games at any golf course and find out where they rank in their local golf course against global leader board rankings.”

He added that users will also be able to compete for real prizes such as membership fees, hotel stays and airplane tickets by joining monthly competitions and challenges through the app.

Currently, the app is at the prototype stage, though Faezal said that it should be ready for use on Android devices within six months, once the company is able to attain “the right fmancial support”.

The goal is for the app to be used internationally. The company also plans to release similar apps catered to bowling and futsal.

“I am very grateful to the iCentre, BEDB and ultimately the government for having this place for us to work,” said Faezul. “This is very good support for entrepreneurs like us, not only financially. I mean how they have supported me and helped shape me into the entrepreneur that I am now Right now I have to say that I have improved so much since coming here and attending courses.”

He advised budding entrepreneurs, “If you don’t try, you never know. If you have a good idea, come over here. The officers are fantastic. They’re very helpful and they will go to great lengths to help support you if your idea is good enough.

“So, if you have a good idea, I would say commit to it, believe in yourself and get support from here, and you’re on the way.”

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