Press Releases

Press Releases

Biomedical Team Privi wins inaugural NTUC Income’s Future Starter – The $100K Challenge

1 Dec 2014
  • Privi emerges winner out of 299 competitors to win $100,000 cash funding
  • Four-member team impresses judges with biomedical idea
  • Future Starter is part of NTUC Income’s drive to encourage young Singaporeans to take control of their futures by making the right decisions now

SINGAPORE, 1 DECEMBER 2014 – Privi, which has developed a medical device to provide an effective and safe application that stops bleeding and pain for haemorrhoids, has emerged as the winner of the NTUC Income’s inaugural Future Starter – The $100K Challenge.
 
Privi, which comprises a four-member group of medical and engineering professionals, was selected out of five finalists who vied for the $100,000 cash grant sponsored by NTUC Income at the Grand Finals held at The Arts House on 28 November.
 
The team impressed the judges with a patent-pending product that potentially has a great social impact and commercial success.
 
Haemorroids, also known as piles, is a common medical problem that affects 75 per cent of the population at some point of their lives. 80 per cent of women will experience symptoms during pregnancy. Privi is non-drug based and therefore safe for pregnant women. It is a self-administered solution and aims to empower users with a safe and effective management of their problem and reduce subsequent recurrences.
 
Representing the Privi team, clinician and medical device innovator Dr Rena Dharmawan (MD), 28, said: "We are thrilled and excited to be the inaugural winners of The $100K Challenge. This will enable us to realise our dreams and put our product into the hands of millions of haemorrhoids sufferers. We appreciate all the mentoring and support from our Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Fellowship office, the competition organisers and NTUC Income".
 
Apart from Dr Dharmawan, the Privi team consists of Mr Prusothman Sina Raja, 27, Dr Benjamin Tee Chee Keong (PhD), 32, Dr Cecilia Wang Yao (Dual-PhD), 30. The foursome met under the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Fellowship Office programme - a partnership between Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Economic Development Board (EDB) and Stanford University – in January this year.
 
Mr Prusothman added: “We are very grateful for the support of a local organisation like NTUC Income supporting us at this early seed stage of our venture while we get our prototype ready for market.”
 
One of the judges, Mr Michael Ma, Founder of IndoChine Group, said: “The Privi team is made up of people with specialist knowledge in areas such as material and mechanical engineering, and medicine. This makes the team very strong because they have such intimate knowledge of every aspect of the business.”
 
Another judge, Mr Marcus Chew, Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing & Communications, NTUC Income, said: “Privi’s idea, which is borne out of extensive research, has a global reach and huge potential commercial success. The team has a strong panel of advisors and its idea, while sustainable, can have a strong social impact on people across the world. This differentiates them from the other finalists.”
 
Other notable finalists included Airfrov, a mobile application allowing travellers to get paid by non-travellers to shop while they are abroad; Gredit, a social enterprise aiming to encourage Singaporeans to recycle their aluminum cans with reverse vending machines that pay recyclers credits for every can recycled; SoVou, a social voucher wallet mobile application that allows you to store vouchers and share them with your friends; and Treats, a mobile application matching consumers who want lifestyle appointments immediately with hair salons, spas, and other lifestyle businesses that have excess capacity.
 
Future Starter is part of NTUC Income’s Future Made Different campaign, which aims to educate young Singaporeans on how decisions they make now have a direct impact on their futures.
 
Officially launched on 11 September, the campaign encompasses Future You, an advertising campaign; Future Speak, a motivational and educational talk series; and Future Peek, a photographic exhibition of individuals with personal accounts of the choices they made that affected their lives positively.
 
Future Starter targets to help an aspiring individual or team under the age of 35 realise a sustainable new venture and make the future different for them – encouraging young Singaporeans to take control of their future by making the right decisions now.
 
The three-month-long challenge attracted 299 entries. Five finalists were shortlisted by the panel of judges, which made up of industry leaders – Divya Patel, Co-leader, Incubation Programs, The Hub Singapore; Ghislain Le Chatelier, Regional Director, SMB South Asia and Greater, Google; Michael Ma, Founder of IndoChine Group; Sze Tian-Poh, Personal Care Cluster Leader, SEA & Australasia, Unilever; Ken Ng, Chief Executive, NTUC Income; and Marcus Chew, Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing & Communications, NTUC Income.
 
Mr Ng said Future Starter encourages young Singaporeans to pursue their dreams.
 
“By granting the cash funding of $100,000, we would like to propel Privi to create the future they desire and achieve positive impact.”
 
 He added, “Winning the cash grant is just a first step. The team will need to manage their resources and business prudently. Similar to financial planning, the decisions made today can have a significant impact on the future. This is part of the journey to becoming financially responsible.”