My previous post on BuzzCity got me strolling down memory lane, and triggered a little inquisition into the ascension and demise of Singapore’s once-famous and respected Kent Ridge Digital Labs (KRDL), otherwise pronounced as ‘Cradle’.Singapore pretty much missed the boat during the dot com boom, and the general ICT scene suffered from the subsequent downturn and telecom bust later on in 2003. As we head into yet another downturn after a short-lived boom, it might be useful for us to revisit memory lane and learn from the history books – 以免重蹈覆辙.
These past 2 years, I have been fortunate enough to be (in my opinion) well-exposed to the Singapore technology entrepreneurial scene – enough to have a decent sense of the current state of affairs. I have also been privy to anecdotal comments from veterans about the ‘hey-days of Singapore IT’ and the significant role that KRDL played at that time. Now, I’m not the sort to kiss and tell, so you won’t be getting anything out of me, unless I manage to convince some of them to share with us their experiences (via interviews perhaps) in the future.
A quick side trip to www.krdl.org.sg yielded a dead end. Digging harder turned up an old presentation on KRDL at Professor Wong Lim Soon‘s NUS School of Computing website, which I have reposted to SlideShare for posterity. He also has a flickr set of (presumably) his time with KRDL then. See below for the slides to give you an overview of what KRDL was all about.
From the above set of slides, I note the following KDRL spin-offs; SingaLab, Logipolis (terminated), PixAround, Private Express (struck off), WholeTree.com (in liquidation), geneticXchange (BusinessWeek lists them, but the company seems defunct today), ThirdVoice, BuzzCity, CommonTown, Transparity (ACRA shows it as dissolved, but the URL sends me to SecureAge – reboot?), Horizon.iExpress, Mustard Technology, NewsTakes (dissolved), Volume Interactions, smartBridges, Nanostorage (dissolved).
More to come on the stories behind the scenes – if I can only find time to conduct my research to piece history back together.