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Lens maker DynaOptics sharpens its focus on global markets

WHILE most startup firms focus on creating software, one Singapore startup has taken a different path by creating new hardware that it hopes will disrupt the camera lens industry.

DynaOptics took three years to perfect a lens that it says is superior to anything you can find in cameras today. The technology was developed in a laboratory in the National University of Singapore. Kelvin Cheo, who is a co-founder of DynaOptics, was part of the team that helped develop it.

Currently, cameras in mobile phones do a poor job when zooming in to take a picture of an object far away, resulting in blurry and highly pixilated images.

But DynaOptics' free-form lenses provide a sharp image of the object even when zoomed in, says the firm's chief executive officer Li Han Chan.

"I really wanted to deal with technical hardcore technology, something that could actually change the world in a direct way," she says.

The company has also developed a wide-angle, low aberration camera called the Wala Cam, which captures sharp images without using additional software modifications.

DynaOptics, which has grown to a 16-member team, won the Gold award in the Best Innovative Start-up - Growth Stage category in this year's Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation Awards.

Ms Chan says the goal is for free-form lenses to be in cameras everywhere. "In three to five years' time? We hope to be highly profitable by then and see the lenses in mobile phones, security cameras everywhere. That's the potential of this tech," she says.

Funding has also been steadily coming in, starting with angel funding in the United States, while Spring Singapore has also been supporting the company, says Ms Chan.

The silver award winner in the Best Innovative Start-up - Growth Stage category is an app that helps marketers automate data collected from various digital marketing channels, including Facebook, and turn it into simple-to-read reports.

Nugit automates the entire process from data extraction to collation and presentation, enabling massive time savings.

The firm, which was started in 2013, now has 27 staff generating reports and insights for over 30,000 active campaigns by some of the largest brands in the world.