When Mr Vishnu Saran (right) founded Invigilo Technologies in July 2020, he had no one to lean on.
But he pushed on in his pursuit of making the construction industry safer with the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
"Since young, I have been exposed to the realities of workplace accidents and the pain it brings. And I wanted to do something about it," said the 28-year-old.
Invigilo helps reconfigure construction sites in Singapore through AI-enabled video surveillance technologies, enabling real-time monitoring of construction sites and providing intelligence to improve workplace safety.
For this groundbreaking development in industrial safety, Mr Saran made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2023 list, which honours 300 young entrepreneurs, leaders and trailblazers across Asia-Pacific.
These remarkable individuals are making positive impact and driving innovation amid global economic uncertainty and a challenging environment.
The Class of 2023 features 10 categories including The Arts, Consumer Technology, Enterprise Technology, Healthcare and Science, Entertainment and Sports and Social Impact.
Invigilo has collaborated with Singapore regulatory bodies, such as Housing and Development Board and Land Transport Authority, to promote the adoption of such technologies at high-risk construction sites.
"Workplace safety is a key feature, but we are still navigating the challenges of implementing it well," said Mr Saran.
After taking part in countless competitions and events to gather information over the years, Mr Saran thought he had gained enough experience and primed to venture out on his own. But, when he set up Invigilo, he realised there was still so much he had to learn and do.
"I did not have much support as many questioned why they should listen to a young and inexperienced person," he said.
"A lot of my employees left the company. Many did not want to come on board as full-timers as they doubted the company's survival.
"I had to deal with a lot of negativity."
And the Covid-19 pandemic threw another spanner in the works as the construction industry came to a grinding halt.
Mr Saran even started to doubt himself, unsure if he should go ahead with the project.
"But I decided to push on and fight for my startup. I was not ready to give up yet," he said.
And luckily for him, he found support from specialist adult educator Goh Chye Guan, who is also the founder and managing director of SMER, and Mr Allan Low, deputy quality, environmental, health and safety director at Teambuild Engineering and Construction.
"They had my back. Even when I did not believe in myself, their hopes for me did not falter," said Mr Saran.
"They made my dream come true and pointed me towards people who became assets to Invigilo."
Recently, in a bid to improve worker safety, the Ministry of Manpower mandated that companies must deploy video surveillance systems at construction sites for projects valued at $5 million or more from June next year.
Mr Saran, who was honoured with the prestigious Philip Yeo Fellowship at his alma mater National University of Singapore, feels he and his company have played a small part in this move.
Last year, President Halimah Yacob visited Invigilo and commended Mr Saran and his team on their efforts to improve safety at construction sites.
Mr Saran said he could not have done it without his team, advisers and the community for nurturing his journey and the steady progress he has made in his chosen field.
"Since young, I have been exposed to the realities of workplace accidents and the pain it brings. And I wanted to do something about it."
- Mr Vishnu Saran, founder of Invigilo Technologies