Live Blogging from PopOut 2007!
October 4, 2007 by SGE
We are now in Suntec City Exhibition and Conventional Hall, live blogging from there. The SGE team has moved around to meet and network with entrepreneurs from different start-ups and encouraged many to sign up with the iJam platform. Most of the local IDM community have gathered once again and it’s a good time to catch up with friends again.
7.20 pm: Estee kicked off the event with thanks to the sponsors: Suntec, IDA and Recruit.Net. She talked about the definition of a geek and hoped that the audience to remember the word “funk” by tonight.
Estee invited Howie on stage. She interviewed him and asked him about his background. Howie talked about his background and his current job in Creative Inc. Estee revealed Howie’s marital status. Now Estee asked him why the event is called “PopOut 2007″. So, Howie just responded by saying that the idea just “popped out”. They invited the two guests from Japan: Gen Kanai of Mozilla and the other who I will fill in the blanks later on the stage.
The prize for tonight is a iPod. So, the lucky draw will be held later, and now they asked the audience to turn on the firecrackers. Estee and Howie now have gotten all the audience to pop the firecrackers.
7:28pm: Estee invited the first speaker, Ross from Bezurk. Ross introduced the product offered by his company as a search company for the Asia Pacific region. Bezurk eliminates the time consuming task of searching individually thru multiple websites (for example, local travel agents or airlines) to find the best deal for the customer. He provided the workflow on how a customer can make an informed choice about the product. The business model is generated through referrals to the travel partners for book – generally a cost-per-click arrangement. He listed the partnerships who they have links to: JestStar, Emirates, KLM, STA Travel. Now he talked about the distribution partnerships with Yahoo! Southeast Asia, News.com.au, Lonely Planet and also the amount of press coverage they are getting from Business 2.0 (which has stopped publishing).
Now he comes to the “Things I know now that I wish I’d known then!”. The first is the corporate life vs startup life. He begins in comparing that in a corporation, a person fulfills a specialization role while in a start-up, you have to do everything. He talks about the things he have taken for granted in a big company: HR, payroll and logistics, and in a start-up, these services are not available and they have learned to take care of themselves. He suggested that one should have some capital before doing a start-up. His advice is that you have to be prepared for a start-up and passion is essential to sustain the start-up. He also cautioned on the temperament.
If you want another perspective, you can hear from Angela Jean who is also live-blogging on the PopOut! 2007 event now.
Back to Ross, he suggested choosing the right idea and also do a prototype before starting the business. The next point is about picking the right team. He advised that you should find the right people (not your friends) for a company and not to give away equity so easily. Ross provided the counter-example that it was not difficult for him to find the technical team. Of course, he also promoted the best practice of paperwork, like signing off cheques to your employees. Lastly he stressed about Singapore as a good location to bring people here. Ross comes to the raising capital where the company is now reaching its series A funding. He strongly recommended Guy Kawasaki, Paul Graham for advice on powerpoint presentation and stressed that the entrepreneur should talk to many investors as much as possible, and check out as many templates about contracts.
At that point, Ross has just finished his presentation.
8 pm: The speaker is Eric from Quaffs. He’s a lively speaker and throws up some methods for getting the audience to freshen up. Now he’s starting with what Quaffs does. He starts with his pitch by telling everybody that Quaffs is a social network which rewards the users thru the use of shopping. Now he talks what’s so unique and different from the Facebook and many other social networks. The feature that sets them apart is OoD (Objects of Desire – yes, I wish for an iPhone). The mission of Quaffs is to realize your objects of desire and turn them into reality. He talks about the unique rewards program: Q. dollars and how users interact with the objects of desire (like a phone, books, movie tickets). The user purchased something online and gets some Q. dollars in the process. “Sounds like an online retail store for me. What’s the scalability for them look like?” They have 13,249 visitors since their launch on 1st June 2007. They are now talking about the next version after beta. He is now going to demostrate two new features: (i) Wazzzup – a brand new engine to allow people to add things on their social network – text, photo and video, and (ii) a brand new rating system – Qool factor (which is just a numerical counter but the design looks good). He’s now going with a demo on the stage.
Eric has ended his presentation and asked the audience to provide interesting feedback.
The SGE blogging team will be stopping here. Do catch up with the TDM team for the live-blogging.
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About The Author
SGE - (SGE)
Covering the Singapore and Southeast Asia startup and entrepreneurship scene since 2005.Read other posts by SGE