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Blk 71 Ayer Rajah Crescent
#05-03 Singapore 139951

Creating a story experience pop-up that would do us and our start-up community proud

PaperplaneCo’s innovative brand experience pop-up impressed Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

We were cited by PM Lee as an example of Singaporean startups taking on industry giants.
The launch was covered by several local news outlets and Channel News Asia interviewed our founder, Chrissy Lim.

A PLEASANT SURPRISE

“It came out of the blue.” Chrissy, PaperplaneCo founder, says recalling how she learned that PM Lee was going to visit the PaperplaneCo office.

“Someone from JTC just popped by, and said, ‘Do you mind if we invite the PM to visit your office?’ I jumped in with my usual enthusiasm. It only struck me later what a tremendous opportunity this was.”

In January 2015, Block 71, Singapore’s equivalent of the early Silicon Valley was expanding into LaunchPad, a startup ecosystem developed by JTC, the state-owned industrial property developer. An official opening ceremony had been planned, and JTC had chosen PaperplaneCo as one of three start-ups to host the guest of honour, PM Lee.

It wasn’t difficult to guess why we’d been chosen. In a block full of traditional tech and R&D startups, we stood out as a creative studio with our bootstrapped, arty interiors. We’d been relatively successful too.

As the magnitude of the upcoming visit began to sink in, we wondered – how could we delight a Prime Minister, someone who was used to being presented to everyday?

DESIGNING A UNIQUE AND MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE

We were a young startup then, just three years old, with a staff of five indie artists. Our products were a mix of interactive learning solutions for children and corporate storytelling. Our children’s iPad app, The Extraordinary Jenny Jones, had made it to the Top Ten in the iTunes charts,  and our stories had received positive reviews from Kirkus. We’d built a strong relationship with SAP.

As a creative studio, we wanted our presentation to stand out and represent who we were as a collective. We decided to create a 3D, immersive, sensory experience that would evoke the emotions our brand stood for – playfulness, fun, and a passion for creativity. And as a company that highly values its relationships, we wanted our most supportive partners and clients to share the limelight too.

Battling a threadbare budget, we worked long hours, creating everything by hand. We turned our office into a giant pop-up storyboard so PM Lee could see, touch, feel, and play. Every product featured as a stop in the walkthrough. We had apps to play with, hanging mobile poems to read, wall origami and even giant primary school storybooks to flip through. We wanted the walkthrough to impress upon our audience the power that stories hold and how that very power had driven our journey as a startup.

PaperplaneCo was covered in the local print media and Chrissy was interviewed by CNA (then Channel News Asia), one of Asia’s most popular news channels. It was heartening to hear PM Lee mention us in his opening ceremony speech — how a small, locally born and bred agency like ours was taking on big global agencies.

It was a testament to the values that we hold dear. Passion with purpose, coming together to create art we believed in.

I was so incredibly proud of the team. Showing your work to a Prime minister is an honour, of course, but I will always remember the dedication, care, passion and commitment that bled through everyone’s fingertips as they worked through the night. That’s the part that I get emotional about.

CHRISSY LIM
PaperplaneCo

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