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Your must-have penny-saving list

Students at NTU can rent a set of wheels, a pillow, a fridge, a broom and soon, even a calculator. Here’s what you can lease to save, not just pennies, but the environment
by Derek Rodriguez

The co-founders of Dorm Buddy tossing the things they rent into the airPHOTO: Lianhe Zaobao © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.


You are an exchange student who has just landed at NTU. To get your creature comforts, you need a basic starter kit comprising bed linen, pillows and other essentials like a bin and hangers.

Enter Dorm Buddy to save the day – and environment – as a “one-stop dormitory rental service”.

“We saw the massive waste being generated and thought we could do better, especially given NTU’s EcoCampus initiative,” says co-founder Dhanraj Bahety (above, top left), who was inspired to start the rental service with some peers after taking up the Minor in Entrepreneurship programme.

Dorm Buddy’s rental list includes everyday hallroom items, from bedsheets and pillowcases to routers and extension cords. Prices range from $3 for a power plug adapter to $100 for a comprehensive “combo” that includes all the linen and tech connectivity gadgets a student needs to live comfortably.

Says Dhanraj: “Our no-frills service not only helps NTU students to save money, it is environmentally and socially responsible as well.”

But do students think it’s icky to use someone else’s bedsheets and pillow cases? “After each cycle, the linen is sent for commercial-grade washing and electronics are sanitised thoroughly. Used towels and pillows are donated to charity,” Dhanraj explains.

It looks like Dorm Buddy is doing a roaring business with about 100 customers per semester and another 40 in the special terms.

The service will soon be open to local hall students as well. And with new items you can rent, such as a fridge and a calculator, it’s easier to make the most of hall life at less than half the cost.

Dorm Buddy providing hallroom supplies to exchange students at the North SpineSave money, save the environment: Dorm Buddy provided hallroom supplies to exchange students in January 2017.

Join the joyride

It’s lunchtime at the School of Humanities. You are craving the ayam penyet at Canteen 2. What do you do to satisfy this chicken craving in mere minutes? Zip to your meal on a rented e-scooter.

Telepod’s co-founders with a Telepod e-scooter PHOTO: The New Paper © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

With 16 stations on campus where you can pick up or drop off these little blue vehicles, Telepod, the NTU student start-up behind the e-scooter service, is trying to reinvent the wheel of public transportation in NTU and in Singapore.

Designed by NTU alumnus Gan Jin Ni (above, left), Telepod’s CEO, the Telepod app locates the nearest pick-up point by tracking your location with GPS and matching it with the closest available scooter. For $0.09 per minute, you can whiz from the North Spine to various halls and the Sports and Recreation Centre, where The Wave is, and even to the nearby CleanTech Park, the test-bedding site for novel NTU technologies.

Since wheeling into NTU, the e-scooter service has been a hit with students, providing more than 1,000 trips a month. Demand has peaked for e-scooters from the residential halls at North Hill and the Canteen 2 bus stop.

But shortening commuting time between halls, canteens and lecture theatres is not the only reason these scooters are hired. “Couples in NTU have used them to go on dates, too!” says Jin Ni, who recently saw a pair of lovebirds zipping around on separate scooters.

Rent what you need

Dorm Buddy

Tech accessories

  • Ethernet cable – $5
  • Extension cord – $10
  • Power plug adapter – $3
  • Router – $18

For the bed

  • Bedsheet set – $15
  • Blanket – $15
  • Pillow – $12

Other essentials

  • Broom – $9
  • Bath towel – $7
  • Hangers (set of 15) – $5
  • Laundry bag – $4
  • Trash can – $4

All charges are per semester. You can also rent fixed sets of items at special package rates ($35-$100).


  • One-time deposit – $49 (refundable)
  • Rental rate – $0.09 per minute