Model Up was birthed after Calvin Hia and his teammates decided to venture into the entrepreneurship scene after the completion of their final-year project at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
“Our love for play brought us together and we had a mission to create a world where learning and playing co-existed,”Calvin Hia
The SUTD graduates started out joining several startup competitions towards the end of 2020, and participated in the Venture Building Programme hosted by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), a program that helped to kickstart their business journey.
Kiap your way through Online Learning and Virtual Meetings
The Covid-19 pandemic has definitely shifted trends in the workplace and schools. It did not only brought about the rise of remote working, but also home-based learning (HBL). In fact, Calvin also saw first-hand how the changes were catching both teachers and students off guard.
“It all started when I saw my little cousin struggling to hold up his Chinese textbook in front of the screen to show his Chinese tutor his work”Calvin Hia
Noting the pain point, Calvin and his team started brainstorming for ideas on how they could assist teachers and students in conducting better virtual learning sessions.
This led to the conceptualization of Kiap Kiap, which was initially formed as a simple and intuitive tool that would help children and teachers share their physical work during their virtual learning sessions.
Evolving from a capstone project to a startup
The goal of Model Up was to create hybrid learning products that combine both physical play and virtual learning.
Meanwhile, The Kiap Family was founded recently in June 2021 and was the first product brand launch of Model Up. The initial plan was to assist teachers and students in dealing with virtual classes during these pandemic times.
The evolution of the brand began with Calvin helping his cousins and teachers in need. He figured this was the best way to give back to the teachers for all their hard work and sacrifices that they put in.
Once the team got the ball rolling, they noticed a huge need within the market as more early adopters and customers reflected upon their product.