How Simtrum lights the way in e-commerce photonics industry

CEO John Yuan said the industry is currently worth at least $357b

Singapore-based e-commerce photonics technology startup Simtrum has only one goal in mind: making photonics technologies more accessible and affordable.

Photonics is the science and technology of generating, controlling, and detecting photons, which are particles of light. The photonics industry is the manufacturing and selling of light-based technology.

“Currently, the B2B side of the photonics industry is plagued by technical and business concerns,” said John Yuan, CEO and co-founder of Simtrum.

He pointed out two concerns. First, a customer must be familiar with the components he is purchasing. “Due to knowledge gaps or being unaware of solutions on the market, processes might become expensive or not perform optimally,” Yuan explained.

The second is that the market for products in the photonics industry is so big;middlemen are needed to understand the resources available and the production chain of system solutions to make the best use of their budget. “This is especially so with new technologies or startups delivering cutting-edge technology directly from other universities. More often than not, these companies do not get any exposure where their product can be useful,” Yuan said.

This is where Simtrum steps in.

Through its website and simulation software platform, Simtrum creates a seamless communication medium between customers and suppliers, and provides a knowledge resource of the tools available.

The team takes the massive wealth of information and breaks them down into smaller chunks for businesses and customers.

“One of the biggest driving factors we have going for us is that Simtrum has a core team with a strong knowledge base, from disciplines of spectroscopy to ultrafast lasers. We currently have three PhDs and four bachelors in Engineering and Physics on our team of 10 plus people,” Yuan said.

Using its online platform, Simtrum cuts down the four to 12 weeks of B2B purchasing process into a one-week process. Its software compares suppliers, specifications, quantity cost and lead time, and handles order and demonstration of the product.

Several market studies predicted that by 2025 the photonics industry will be worth around $1.6t (US$800b), a promising investment for research and innovation in the industry. And where else but Singapore is the perfect hub for it.

“Singapore is a hub for driving research and innovation with constant collaboration between the government, universities, research groups, and industry players. Solutions produced here have an impact on processes across the world, giving us the leverage we need to reach our customers and giving us access to a portion of the wider market,” he added.

Without giving any figures, Yuan said that Simtrum is currently in the seed round of funding with the initial reports being promising.

“In the next five years our software would have reached maturity and be ready for other applications and modifications. The main goal at this point would be to drive take up rate and design for more specific use cases,” the CEO said.

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