Friday, December 30, 2011

Porting his dreams to reality

 James Pinto (extreme right) winning the Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2008

James Pinto, 24, never expected that he would win the Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2008 or become Shell LiveWIRE’s “Most Promising Entrepreneur” this year. After all, he was just an average student at that time. But with encouragement from the School of Engineering, the NYP alumni managed to channel his energy and enthusiasm into making his dreams a reality. Now he owns his own business and works from an office in NYP.  

The idea of his business originated from his Microsoft Imagine Cup task, which he developed a low-cost, self-sustaining environmental monitoring robotic system, due to his fascination with robot systems. After completing his national service, he pondered upon the idea of a similar system and invented VortPort – an application that manages workplace safety and health – together with his business partner and Imagine Cup teammate Denver Lim.
 James and his Imagine Cup teammates with their environmental monitoring robot
The idea of VortPort was inspired by the implementation of the Workplace Safety and Health Act in September. The act requires all workplaces to have a safe working environment. Thus James thought it would be ideal if companies had a mobile system that can monitor and mitigate workplace risks easily.
He managed to set-up his company – Vortics Communication – at the NYP-Microsoft Entrepreneurship Centre with the support of NYP this year. He also managed to secure a $50,000 grant from SPRING Singapore’s Yes! Start-ups Fund, and was awarded Most Promising Entrepreneur at the Shell LiveWIRE Awards last month.
The head start helped James to concentrate his business without him worrying about business expenses. As a NYP-Microsoft Entrepreneurship Centre incubatee, James gets to work with the latest Microsoft software, and also with third-year Electronics, Computer & Communications students who are interested in gaining experience from a real life business venture.
It is also a bonus that James’ former mentor is also in the same campus and within easy reach.
Said James, “I thought my mentor would be busy with his new students. But he has offered me a lot of support and stops by my office occasionally to see how I am doing.”
Said School of Engineering (Electronics) lecturer Liaw Sze Wong, “Being able to mentor James in finding his true potential as a young entrepreneur is really rewarding.  James is especially driven and determined, he always strive his best to capitalise business opportunities and to grow new business ventures for his company.” 
Currently, James is still in talks with several companies to implement VortPort. He is optimistic about his future as an entrepreneur, and has plans to realise a profit of $500,000 by the end of 2012.
VortPort is targeted at industries such as construction, manufacturing and shipbuilding, and aims to help employees assess and reduce risks more conveniently on site with mobile devices like tablets. For more information, please visit

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