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This Startup Taps Robots to Revive the Lost Art of Handwritten Cards

Thursday Nov 10,2022 | IIE News

Write Brothers

Inspiration may strike us at any moment in life. But what sets entrepreneurs apart is the ability to execute an idea and make it happen.

Hng Yi Lim  was in his final year at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) when he had an epiphany while working on an NLP (Natural Language Processing) project, on the recognition of human handwriting using techniques similar to those used by 3D printers.  

 He went on to explore how this technology could have real-life applications which add value and improve the way we connect with one another. 

That’s how Hng Yi began his entrepreneurship journey. He teamed up with Noel Tan and Ken Zho Lim, fellow students from SUTD to start Write Brothers, a company providing hand lettering services to businesses and significantly increasing their engagement rate with clients. It was subsequently selected as one of the Business Innovations Generator (BIG) incubated startups in August 2022.  

“It took us a fair bit of time to structure, find clients and build our brand name. Like with any other business, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but it was meaningful, and we learnt aplenty,”  Noel recalled their early journey.  

Redefining Personalisation

Write Brothers’ technology taps on unique software and hardware that Noel and his team built, with auto feeders to constantly produce cards just like a real printer. The software replicates and randomises real handwriting, such that once a handwriting style is created, it can craft thousands of unique personalised messages easily.   

“We are able to write thousands of genuine handwritten cards with our robots, replicate your handwriting, signature and randomise it to be natural and messy – just like real humans!”

Today, Write Brothers helps their clients which range from businesses, non-profits, financial advisors, and small businesses to scale up their engagement solutions and engage with their network, connections, clientele, or donors a lot more efficiently through authentic handwritten cards.   

Businesses see a significantly higher open rate of 99% unlike emails at 16%, and up to eight times the response rate compared to flyers.  

The company also offers GeoProspect and GeoRadius service - making it even easier for businesses to reach out to prospective customers in a specific area or within the surrounding neighbourhood.

Crafting His Own Path  

There is not always a straight path to innovation and the journey of an entrepreneur is never 100% smooth. This is certainly true for Hng Yi and Noel too, who admitted that there have been many ups and downs they had to overcome. However, they chose to focus on the positives - the response to his service has been exciting, to say the least.  

“It was amazing when we first secured one of our larger few-thousand cards order! Another highlight was running our A/B tests and seeing the [encouraging] results and real engagement difference compared to other solutions.” - Noel Tan 

Noel and Hng Yi has a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year. Write Brothers is working on growing further, by ramping up production and automating more to cater to the increased demand. This could extend to more robots; a wider variety of handwriting styles and other innovative solutions being offered.  

Having gone through his own entrepreneurial journey, Noel believes that the key to success is being resilient. Asked about advice he would give to young founders who are embarking on their own startup journey, he said, “A startup truly fails when the founders give up. Don’t give up!”  

While the Write Brothers continue to make an impact by building powerful and genuine connections, other aspiring entrepreneurs too, can leave a mark and handwrite their path with a game-changing idea!  

*Business Innovations Generator (BIG) is now accepting applications for its Jan’23 cohort. It is a founder-centric incubation programme that is designed to prepare early-stage startups for success through mentorship, dedicated resources, funding, and access to an investor network! Applications will close on 2nd December. More information can be found here.  

Connect with Noel here.  

Learn more about Write Brothers here.  


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