The DS3 family. Teik Guan is wearing a yellow shirt. Photo: DS3
For twelve years, Tan Teik Guan has been carrying the weight of the company and its employees on his back, first as DS3‘s CTO and then as CEO in 2006.
One wrong move could affect not just his 50 employees but also their families. It’s a huge burden to bear, especially since a startup lacks the stability of a large company.
“I didn’t just have my own kids to think about — all my employees are like my children,” he said.
But his reprieve finally came. In April this year, the management successfully sold the Singapore-based IT security firm to Gemalto, a multi-national corporation in the same industry. DS3 has been making profit by selling authentication software to banks.
While the specifics of the deal cannot be disclosed, he and the other co-founders, Zvi Efroni and Kelvin Teo, are happy with how it turned out.
For Teik Guan especially, who left his cushy government job to join an unknown company as the first employee post Dot-Com bust, the rewards were especially sweeter.
“Oh my gosh, it was a huge burden off my back,” he said. Read more
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), a public-listed media company in Singapore, announced yesterday that it has purchased online car portal sgCarMart for SGD 60M (USD 48M), a significant amount in the country’s digital publishing and media sector.
The deal dwarfs, at least in monetary terms, SingTel’s acquisition of food portal HungryGoWhere for USD 9.4M last year. SgCarMart’s valuation is a x12 multiple over its 2012 annual revenue.
While the price is pegged at SGD 60M, the final valuation will ultimately depend on performance targets. The three founders will continue to work on the business after the acquisition, and Vincent told the Straits Times that the deal will help it “grow in breadth and in depth”.
SPH has, on behalf of the founders, declined an interview request with SGE about the acquisition and the team’s plans with regards to contributions to the startup ecosystem.
SgCarMart operates a variety of businesses, including vehicle classifieds, a car auction platform, an online marketing site, as well as car loans, insurance and settlement services. Existing shareholders in the company include JDB Investment, Goh Cher Ngann, Ong Poh Huat, and co-founders Henry Seah, Tan Jing Lun, and Vincent Tan. Read more
by Michael Cheng, senior software engineer at mig33
Coders show up in force at JSCamp.Asia in 2012. Photo: @veronism of JSCamp.Asia
I had an interesting conversation with a budding startup entrepreneur the other day. He asked me: “Why are computer programmers in Singapore perceived as a low prestige occupation?”
I imagine his statement stems from the fact that he had a hard time looking for a developer for his startup.
I paused for a minute as I had always felt comfortable and secure about my chosen profession. So that statement, at first, felt awkward. Read more
Following an announcement of its expansion into Taiwan, Singapore’s VanityTrove has today revealed that it has acquired Glossybox Taiwan for an undisclosed sum. For Glossybox, a Rocket Internet company, this move completes its exit from several countries in the region in order to focus its efforts on larger markets in Europe and North Asia.
Both Glossybox and VanityTrove are subscription commerce companies modeled after Birchbox. Every month, they deliver ‘beauty boxes’ containing cosmetic samples to subscribers, while at the same time acting as a marketing platform for cosmetic brands. Read more
Australia’s Bellabox announced today that it has raised a USD 1.4M (AUD 1.3M) series A round, led by Lance Kalish, co-founder of skincare brand Yes To Carrots and Elevation Capital director Trevor Folsom.
Monash Private Capital, SquarePeg Ventures, Apex Capital Partners and other investors participated in this round. Monash Private Capital also assisted with transaction structuring and negotiations. Read more
Inspired by TechCrunch’s list of the best annual tech startup events in Europe for 2013, we attempt to do the same for Asia here.
However, we are not just focusing on events that have been happening annually. The technology startup event and conference scene in Asia is active, but still sees less activity when we compare ours to the scenes in North America and Europe. We thus try to note all the interesting events that are of mid-size and above. We are disregarding small group monthly meetups for now (there would be too many to list).
Big thanks to Steph for helping me with this list and Albert for contributing as well.
There are still many events we know will happen, but they just have no dates fixed yet. So bookmark this list as we continue to update it with new info.
We can make this list comprehensive with your help! If you see any major event missing, please drop us a note. The startup community will be grateful to you for your help, as will we.
Here we go:
Startup Weekend, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Jan 10-12
Barcamp Yangon, Yangon, Myanmar, Jan 19-20
TEDX SapporoSalon, Sapporo, Japan, Jan 19
TEDX DLSU, Manila, Philippines, Jan 25
Barcamp Mandalay, Mandalay, Myanmar, Jan 26
MaD Asia, Hong Kong, Jan 25-27
Lean UX Week, Singapore, Jan 25-27
Startup Design Week, Singapore, Jan 25-27
Design & Thinking, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, Jan 26
TEDX Tokyoyz, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 2
The Entrepreneurship Summit 2013, Mumbai, India, Feb 2-3
Startup Weekend, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 8
TEDX Jaipur, Jaipur, India, Feb 10
Meta Refresh, Bangalore, India, Feb 22-23
BarCamp Angkor 2013, Angkor, Cambodia, Feb 23-24
BarCamp Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Feb 23-24
FailCon India, Bangalore, India, Feb 23
TEDX Yankin, Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 23
The Digital Commerce Summit 2013, Makati City, Philippines, Feb 27-28
beLAUNCH Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 27
TEDX Singapore, Singapore, Feb 28
Startup Weekend, Ahmedabad, India, Mar 1-3
Founder Institute Hanoi, Ha Noi city, Vietnam, Mar
Startup Weekend, Perth, Australia, Mar 8-10
WebSparks 2013, Bangalore, India, Mar 9
TechCamp Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Mar 13-14
HelpLearn.Asia, Singapore, Mar 13-14
DEMO India, Bangalore, India, Mar 20-21
Startup Weekend, Mumbai, India, Mar 22-24
Singapore Lean Startup Machine, Singapore
ICT Business Summit 2013, Singapore, Mar 28
Startup Asia Singapore, Singapore, April 4-5
beLAUNCH, Seoul, South Korea, May 1-2
TEDx Sydney, Sydney, Australia, May 4
Global Mobile Internet Conference BEIJING 2013, Beijing, China, May 7-8
Failcon Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, May
CHINICT, Beijing, China, May 20-21
BarCamp Battambang 2013, Battambang, Cambodia, May 25-26
AngelHack Singapore, Singapore Jun 1-2
Crowdsourcing Week, Singapore, Jun 3-7
Echelon, Singapore, Jun 4-5
Barcamp Saigon 2013, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, Jul 5-6
Viet Youth Entrepreneur Bootcamp, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, Jul
The Fifth Elephant Conference, Bangalore, India, Jul 27-28
Cartonama Conference 2013, Bangalore, India, Aug 24
Ideas.inc 2013 Demo Day, Singapore, Aug 30
TechSparks, India, Sep 14
JSFoo, Bangalore, India, Sep 19-21
Techventure 2013, Singapore, Oct
FailCon Singapore, Oct
Sparxup, Indonesia, Oct
Hack2Hatch, Philippines, Oct
#TechStartupJobs Fair Singapore 2013, Singapore, Oct 28
Startup Weekend, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, Nov
MobiSparks 2013, India, Nov 17
Droidcon India 2013, Bangalore, India, Nov 28-30
Vietnam Startup Conference, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, Dec
Image: Gwen moderating at FailCon Singapore 2012. Credit: Terence Lee
The Gregorian year of 2012 started with an ominous ring to it. But 2012 waltzed along anyway, and so did December 21. And here we are, at the cusp of a global new year.
Before you young folks party the night away, we thought it good to school you in the happenings of the Asian tech startup scene over the last 12 months. Or, if you’re reading this in 2013, welcome to the past. Read more
Glossybox is possibly the largest beauty box company in the world. Photo: Glossybox
As the daily deals fever dies down, entrepreneurs in Asia have been on the lookout on the next big idea. It looks like they have found it. In the region, a new crop of startups have arisen, all centered around a singular concept: Beauty boxes.
The idea sounds simple. Subscribers, who are mostly young women, pay a monthly fee to have a box of cosmetics samples delivered to them on a regular basis. Beauty brands have been freely giving out sample products, so why not mail them to potential customers instead?
The market opportunity is there: Outside of China and India, the Asia-Pacific cosmetics market is valued at USD45.7B. The business model is proven: In the United States, Birchbox, which launched in 2010, has surpassed the 100,000 subscriber mark for its women’s boxes. It may have even reached 200,000. The company is popular with investors too: It raised a series A round of USD10.5M.
The concept soon spread to Europe and finally to Asia. Rocket Internet launched its clone Glossybox in March 2011 and now has a presence in 19 countries, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. Other prominent players are coming up in the region too, and they’re getting a lot of customers. Read more
Platformed creativity is on the rise, as elaborated by SGE’s assistant editor Terence Lee. Such platforms provide avenues for self-expression and creativity, relying on their creators to offer a value proposition to their consumers.
A platform without creators is a ghost town and there is little incentive for consumers to use it. Replicating the technology of YouTube is a considerably smaller challenge compared to replicating its community of video creators.
The creators are active partners in creating (and delivering) the value proposition of the platform. Hence, any startup building a creativity platform should:
1. Understand the motivations of the creators
2. Create enabling technology that caters to those motivations
3. Have a clear strategy to maximize the number of creators on the platforms.
The following 6 questions can help a platform think through these issues and enable it to successfully create a platform that finds traction. Read more
Fashion lovers itching to create their own lookbooks now have another option to go to. #OOTDX, a fashion social network, has gone live, enabling users to upload their looks and appreciate those of others. #OOTD is a commonly used social networking hashtag that means ‘outfit of the day’.
The site is created by 24-12, the company that is also behind TinyTrunk, an ecommerce platform for merchants, and Whereco, a property listings site. #OOTDX is created by Jon Yongfook Cockle and Kelly Leong. Jon has experience scaling fashion businesses: he was the director of web for Glamour Sales, a Japanese luxury fashion ecommerce site that was funded up to Series C. Read more