S'pore startup taps app development for employee education

Singapore startup MicePad leverages the model of leasing iPads to businesses, while developing customized solutions for conferences and training workshops to better engage employees with a simple yet interactive layout.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor
MicePad is an iPad-based audience engagement app to aid business training and workshops.

Tablets, apps, and social networks can help make employee education at conferences and workshops more effective and keep the audience engaged, especially when the attendees are tech-savvy.

According to Kevin Chan, marketing dragon and co-founder of Singapore-based startup, MicePad, education in the business world should evolve to leverage social learning tools and help employees better absorb conference materials. The company develops audience engagement tools to aid businesses during their training and workshop events for employees.

Many audience engagement apps today are "full of bars, charts, and graphs", making it difficult for attendees to understand and absorb information, Chan said in an interview with ZDNet Asia. 

This is why apps complementing such education programs should focus on user experience, for instance, by focusing on being simple, elegant, and interactive, he pointed out. With MicePad, for example, clients are able to modify content online, as well as include slides and annotations, while the audience is able to look at conference information such as speaker lists.

MicePad first started out as an iPad renting business, SGPad, before diversifying into creating interactive tools for its clients mainly during workshops and training events to complement its tablet rental service, Chan said, adding that rental is no longer the key driver of its business but a part of the company's business model.

"We are Generation Y. We play with social media and tablets, we're geeks, love our gadgets, and enjoy our education so we want to bring this experience to the business world," he said.

Team Micepad
Kevin Chan, Tan Jie Hao and James Gwee, co-founders of MicePad and SGPad (Source: MicePad)

He further elaborated on the MicePad's business model of renting iPads and customizing interactive tools on the app.

Q: How was MicePad founded?
Chan: We first started SGPad to provide iPad rental services. One of my co-founders had approached me and said that since I liked gadgets, we could work together on a business that rent out iPads as he had heard of similar business models in Madrid, Spain, and New York. We started operations in December 2011, and began by putting up posters around our university and renting the iPads to tourists. But it did not get much response, so we decided to focus solely on events.

Our clients then started asking about customized software solutions to assist in their events, and that is how MicePad came about.

Which businesses do you rent iPads to?
We rent them mostly to the financial sector, IT consultancy, and event companies. Such events are usually focused on training, workshops, and educational events, where clients can use our solutions to interact and consume information in a fun way.

Standard Chartered, Wipro, and SAP are some of our biggest clients to date.

Why do you rent iPads to businesses and not consumers?
It was a natural decision for us when we just started out. It does not make sense for us to deliver just one iPad to an individual. Businesses are willing to pay more and the transaction process and hassle is much lower, so the product market fit is there.

How do you ensure iPads do not get stolen?
We have contractual agreements and forms that companies sign, and they bear responsibilities for the iPads. On top of that, we have company insurance for iPad liability issues. We rarely deal with individuals who can potentially steal our iPads.

Which Asian markets are you seeing the strongest growth?
We've been to places such as Hong Kong, Beijing, and have an upcoming event planned for Taiwan. We're always looking for distributors globally, especially in places where there is a demand for audience engagement software.

Within the Asian markets, we've seen most success in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Our company is born out of the needs and necessities in Singapore--a multinational corporation hub and technology-savvy population. Shanghai and Hong Kong have similar environments to Singapore so we manage to secure event jobs there.

Where do you want to take your company in the near future?
We want to be a thought leader from a Generation Y perspective. We realize that even though we are young, we can advise people who listen to us and value our expertise.

We also want to build a sustainable organization and open offices in other cities in the region moving forward.

Editorial standards