SEPTEMBER 2021 — These promising entrepreneurs revolutionise nutrition, sustainability, and everything in between. For Merchfoundry and Altimate Nutrition, their entrepreneurship journey is one of daring transformation.

Discover the entrepreneurship journey of RP alumni Darcy Li, Gavriel Tan, and John Lee

Merchfoundry – Creating Smart Workwear Solutions

When RP alumnus Darcy Li started his journey back in 2009, he faced an entrepreneurship environment that was still in its infancy. Without solid support structures, he had to secure his own funding and learn through trial and error.

Tenacious and adaptable, Darcy did not let challenges hinder his progress. Leveraging the creative workspace provided by RP, he was able to experiment, evaluate, and eventually, succeed. 

Now, his brainchild, Merchfoundry, invents intelligent workwear solutions. When COVID-19 ground the world to a halt, they were able to leverage their unique operation model to keep key sectors functional – namely medical and food manufacturers.

Forward-looking and ambitious, Darcy is currently expanding his solutions to regional companies. “Our end goal is to protect and enhance human capabilities,” he muses. “Who knows, [maybe] one day we'll be preparing space wear for astronauts.”

Merchfoundry - Darcy Li

Altimate Nutrition - Gavriel Tan and John Lee

Altimate Nutrition – Singapore's First Cricket Protein Bars

Recent RP graduates and co-founders of Altimate Nutrition John Lee and Gavriel Tan entered the start-up scene in 2020. By then, RP had a support network for entrepreneurs, which only fuelled their vision to make a difference.

In their second year as students of RP’s Diploma in Biotechnology, these plucky founders participated in an entrepreneurship bootcamp that kickstarted their journey. From there, they explored new opportunities through RP-driven funding, exposure, and mentorship. In 2021, the duo participated in – and won – the iDARE Entrepreneurial Challenge, learning how to develop and refine a winning business pitch in the process. 

Inspired by Singapore’s "30 by 30" vision of producing 30% of the nation’s food by 2030, and their aim to provide an alternative source of nutrition, John and Gavriel conceptualised a protein bar made from cricket protein. Being nutrient-dense, zero waste and economically viable, their alternative protein bars can potentially play a part in food security and sustainability. In the long run, they hope to open up economic opportunities as well as provide food solutions to developing countries.

To pursue this goal, Gavriel and John are extending their product line. They are also looking to level up their cricket bars – both commercially, and in terms of flavour.

Impactful Support for Homegrown Start-ups

RP supports aspiring entrepreneurs by providing them with avenues to explore creative business ventures like those of Darcy’s, Gavriel’s, and John’s. 

If you’re a student or an alumnus who is keen to start your own business, RP offers facilities such as Makerspace, co-working spaces, as well as robust industry network and mentorship support to help you in your entrepreneurship journey.

“We aim to create an environment where budding innovators can translate their dreams to reality,” affirms Mr Neo Gim Kian, Director, Office of Entrepreneurship Development (OED), RP. “OED offers funding support, business mentorship, and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs to take their start-ups to the next level.”

Merchfoundry and Altimate Nutrition founders

Ready to innovate? Want to support our rising stars?

Contact OED to get started!
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