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By Isaac Souweine, GM for Pollenizer Southeast Asia. A version of this post first appeared on the Pollenizer blog.
I’ve met with dozens of folks over the past months who are interested in the Singapore startup scene. The questions they asked were often similar, so I thought I would take a crack at writing up my standard responses. For the record, this post is not meant to replace a good coffee chat, just to make those chats even more productive and interesting.
Q: How can I learn more about the scene from the internet?
A: There are three main blogs that cover the Singapore scene:
- e27 – Strong coverage across SEA plus tidbits from across Asia Pac. Highest volume of articles.
- Tech In Asia – Broad Asian perspective with good drill down on SEA and some good analysis.
- SGE.io- Lowest volume but strong on analysis and research pieces.
Jon Russell of the Next Web also weighs in semi-regularly on the SEA scene, and there are a few entrepreneurs and investors who blog semi-regularly:
This list is not exhaustive i.e. I’ve probably forgotten some other folks who share regularly. For online discussions, the JFDI Open Frog list is a good place to start. Read more
By Mike Holt, CEO of Singapore enterprise incubator Get2Volume
While all the startup buzz we hear about seems to focus on social networking, mobile, and casual gaming, there’s real opportunity for startups to make big money in enterprise technology. Consider this: Enterprise startups are twice as likely to become billion-dollar companies compared to consumer startups, according to venture capitalist Jim Goetz.
Enterprise or B2B companies have been the recent rage of the investment community. In 2012, the enterprise IPO market was red-hot. Companies such as Splunk, Palo Alto Networks, and Workday having very successful initial public offerings. Singapore has several exciting enterprise startup companies including ConnectedHealth, gridComm and Sprooki (Editor’s note: these are Get2Volume’s portfolio companies).
Building an enterprise startup is hugely different than a consumer focused company. In this series, I will go through these differences and how B2B startups can best succeed.
So what exactly is a B2B or enterprise business? B2B is short for Business-to-Business (B2B) and B2C is short for Business-to-Consumer (B2C). While B2B products and services are sold from one company to another, B2C products are sold from a company to the end user. Most B2C products or services can also be a B2B product or services. B2B products or services will typically not be used by consumers. Read more
Business founders have been receiving flak for not offering much to technical co-founders. Dropmyemail CEO John Fearon responds.
Recently, I read an article by Singapore-based entrepreneur Jon Yongfook talking about how technical-gifted developers get unsolicited idea pitches all the time. I also read another piece debating the appropriate time for entrepreneurs to get a technical co-founder.
I do agree that business minds should have something more than just an idea to secure co-founders.
But I also think that if the idea is that good, it’s worth taking the risk and going solo.
App ideas are a dime a dozen and while anybody can have them, not everyone can build them. This is in part why good coders are in high demand everywhere. Business people shouldn’t think the idea is the “hard” part and that coders are doing the “easy” part of building a product.
At the same time, I think it will be prudent to bear in mind, that to have a successful business venture, all sides will have to bring their A-game. A fantastically developed app with perfect UX and UI can easily slip through people’s attentions due to the myriad of options available in the market. Read more
The site goes, “‘I have read and agree to the Terms’ is the biggest lie on the web. We aim to fix that.” Read more
By Hugh Mason co-founder and CEO of JFDI.Asia, a Singapore-based startup accelerator. JFDI is a member of the Global Accelerator Network.
Over the last ten years I have worked with something like 35 different government agencies in the UK, Netherlands, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. All are trying to support early stage business through economic intervention of some kind.
I am struck by the fact that arguably the most successful country at entrepreneurship in the world — the United States — offers very little public support to entrepreneurs. It just clears the way for them to get on and do the job themselves.
Brad Feld and David Cohen, who founded startup accelerator TechStars, have an interesting take on this. They point out that many stakeholders are interested in entrepreneurship at certain points in the economic cycle but that their support is fickle. A cynic might say that:
- for governments, when things are down and there’s yoof unemployment (eg in Europe), then encouraging entrepreneurship feels like something futuristic, dynamic and a way to funnel young peoples’ energy away from rioting. Schemes and programs and initiatives sound like a government is taking action. Incubation centers are something that politicians can be photographed outside of, handing over the keys. But how any of it actually adds up to a sustainable recipe, when the raw ingredients are unruly entrepreneurs, untried businesses and fickle investors, is very hard to articulate. Read more
By Huifen Zheng, legal counsel. All views expressed here are strictly in her personal capacity.
A company’s confidential information forms part of its assets. Such information includes the client base, corporate setup, and most importantly — ideas.
Most startups begin with one bright spark of an idea that the team works to translate to a viable business model. But there is nothing to stop key employees or co-founders from jumping ship and trying to take confidential information with them to a new setup.
How can such ideas be protected?
Resorting to legal action is never cost effective and most startups simply lack the cash to pay lawyers’ fees. Here are sensible ways for managing the flow of confidential information within the company. I’ll also briefly discuss intellectual property protection at the end. Read more
By Michael Smith, chief product officer at Spuul and former director of global tech initiatives at Yahoo!. Republished with permission from his blog.
Watching and reading all this stuff happening around chat, games and platforms reminds me of my final, unfinished project, at Yahoo!.
I will admit I don’t use WhatsApp – I just think it is a shitty app but it looks like some people use it. I do use Path cause all my family and most of my close friends use it – therefore it is a nice way to stay in touch, post pics and share what we are all up to. I don’t add many people to Path to keep it simple and useful. Their new chat stuff is okay but still too slow and not super chat friendly. However I think they are moving in an interesting direction that will bear fruit in Asia but not sure everywhere else.
My girlfriend invited me to Line and we use it for chat sometimes and I have been checking out the games – mostly to examine the viral mechanics and such. Line is killing it.
All in all there is much activity in the chat arena. New MessageMe (TiA calling MessageMe a copycat is somewhat comical but that is fodder for anotherpost) on the block, Google with Babble and I am sure there are many other examples. For some reason the space is hot and it has products like Line with huge user bases and what I am guessing is also a decent amount of revenue. Read more
By Justin Hall, Associate at Golden Gate Ventures, Master in Public Policy at LKY School of Public Policy
The Singapore Parliament Building. Photo: Erwin Soo
Recently, there’s been a great deal of discussion (read: controversy) here on the direction and efficacy of Singapore’s entrepreneurship initiatives. These schemes cover a range of policies such as streamlining the process of business creation, facilitating access to overseas markets, or improving the venture capital landscape.
Indeed, the most recent debate concerned MDA’s iJam investment stipulations, and whether they realistically reflect the needs of a typical Singaporean entrepreneur. So the following statement shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that has been following the discussion:
Entrepreneurship policy is tricky.
Countless attempts have been made to reconstruct Silicon Valley elsewhere. Cluster initiatives typically rely on the promotion of particular industries, state capitalism, and the unfettered influence of the free market to create new economies. They follow the old adage of, “if you build it, they will come.” Read more
Edited at 3.50 pm SGT.
By Earl Martin Valencia, president and co-founder of the IdeaSpace Foundation
“How do we build a Silicon Valley atmosphere here in the Philippines?”
In May 2011, business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan (or commonly known as MVP) posed this question to a idealistic 27-year old idealistic Silicon Valley based Filipino during one of his trips back to the Philippines. That person was me.
The Chairman of PLDT-Smart, one of the largest mobile operators in Southeast Asia, told me his 10-year old vision of democratizing access to capital to the best science and technology-based ideas in the country.
This conversation was the birth of what is now called the IdeaSpace Foundation — a non-profit organization that promotes tech entrepreneurship in the Philippines. Read more
By James Chan, founder of Silicon Straits and principal at Neoteny Labs. This article was first published on James’ blog.
This is the second post in my “Term Sheet from Hell” series. The first post discussed liquidation preference and participation.
Last time round, we saw how liquidation preference and participation can combine to affect the entrepreneur’s prospective exit liquidity. I realised I missed out one important point after a reader emailed me to ask about it afterwards. There are indeed liquidation preference clauses where investors end up choosing to convert their preference shares into ordinary shares in order to get a better payout (i.e. 20% of $20M sale = $4M) instead of choosing to go with their liquidation preference & participation rights.
This is actually a much fairer way to implement liquidation preference, and would be phrased differently, i.e. “HIGHER of (i) liquidation + participation, OR (ii) conversion of preference into ordinary to receive pro-rata proceeds“, but is most definitely not what the Term Sheet from Hell had asked for. Read more