Recently, I did a talk at JFDI, a Y-combinator-quality incubator for South East Asia, where I shared how it is like to be an entrepreneur.
A lot of people tend to think: Being entrepreneur is about having a $1B+ home run in the first try. But it’s almost never the case. The best way to describe the life would be through an analogy of playing poker.
Why poker? Well, it is one of those few card games, where you are not playing against a bank/dealer, but rather amongst the players themselves. Winning a hand is not just a matter of having the best card, but also how you play the hand (since having the best card may not necessarily lead to a win). Read more
This was jointly written by Terence Lee and Gwendolyn Regina Tan.
It was a simple party with a few invited guests, some pizza and drinks, a seemingly ordinary networking event at the Chalkboard office in Mount Sophia. No formal announcement was made, but some of the folks knew something was up.
There would be no happy ending for Chalkboard, a Singapore-based mobile advertising startup. The co-founders, Saumil Nanavati and Bernard Leong, decided months earlier to close shop. They were just quietly figuring out a way to do it.
Interestingly, they were very close to getting acquired. Chalkboard was, after all, a pretty attractive target: Sales were coming in, and they were close to breaking even. One interested party was a major firm from Silicon Valley, the other a prominent Singapore company. However, they felt neither acquisition was the right fit.
But despite the setback, neither entrepreneur took it as a personal failure. It had been a team effort all the way. The party was simply a celebration of the journey they’ve taken together with friends.
“We were disappointed it didn’t go the way we wanted, but we were not ashamed, we did the best we could with the smartest people, including the investors who gave their best. We tried,” says Saumil in an interview with SGE on Thursday afternoon.
He and Bernard even came up with an acronym to describe the totality of their experience: MIA (Market, Investors, and Ambition).
Their ambitions for Chalkboard were big enough to match the best entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Their investor, Joi Ito from Singapore’s Neoteny Labs, bought into their vision.
What ultimately caused them to fold was a confluence of factors: The incompatibility between their business model and the Asian market, a weak US venture capital climate after the European Crisis, and the acquisition offers which they felt did their stakeholders (and themselves) injustice. Read more
With Chinese New Year approaching and families making the rounds visiting relatives, it can be a pickle to decide where to shop and dine, especially with so many options available.
Chalkboard, a Singapore and US-based location-based ad network that has mostly been focused on reaching out to businesses, is now targeting consumers with the recent launch of its new Facebook app that allows people to find out what offers are nearby, all at one glance.
The app (try it out on Facebook) is created by UI designer Serge Baluyot and software engineer Anuj Bheda.
According to Anuj, the app “acts as a one-stop shop for our users to find out what are today’s specials that are around them and what their friends have been viewing.” Read more
Following a similar deal with HTC Malaysia, location-based deals platform Chalkboard will have its app installed in HTC phones in Singapore as well, starting with the flagship EVO 3D (see press release). Read more
An interesting post from Willis Wee in Penn-Olson prompted me to provide some perspective on the issue of expansion. The question that most people ask: if I build a start-up from a country with a very small market size (say, Singapore but it can apply from Slovenia to Monaco), where should I expand the company to?
What I agree with Willis in his article, is that expansion to US is not a vanity exercise and his urging to entrepreneurs in a small market like Singapore to think about the Asian market in general. I am going to sketch out a few points which one should consider before expanding: Read more
Chalkboard, a location-based mobile advertising platform, has inked a deal last week with mobile phone company HTC to offer its widget exclusively to HTC customers in Malaysia. The widget allows consumers to receive updates about daily deals, promotions, and product launches through their mobile phones. Read more
Penn Olson, The Asian Tech Catalog, will organize networking session with tech folks in Singapore and around Asia. Volker Heistermann, venture capitalist, and Eric Koh, CTO of Jobscentral are few of guests who will attend this. Beside prominent guests, there will be four startups pitching at this networking session as well. They are Fashion Style Japan by Narita-san, Compath.me by Ando-san, Moso by Murakoshi-san and Cacoo by Tabata-san. Read more
Fresh from attending and exhibiting at South by Southwest (SXSW) in the US, mobile ad network Chalkboard just announced a partnership with Alliance Bank in Malaysia. Co-founder of Chalkboard, Bernard Leong (who also co-founded this site you’re reading) announced the news at a workshop for retailers he held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia two days ago. Read more
South by Southwest (SXSW) was a BLAST. If you haven’t, you should check out my pictures in part one on SGE.
This yearly conference saw Music, Film and Interactive people descend upon Austin, Texas in the US for two weeks of panels, meetups, day parties (with beer), night parties (with beer x 10) and drunken networking revelry.
I was there to check out the conference, stalk the Singapore delegation, meet old friends and make new ones.
So let’s start with… Read more
SXSW 2011 is over. About 20K people from all over the world descended upon Austin, Texas (USA) for two weeks to experience the Music, Film and Interactive South by Southwest festivals.
This year was the first year that our tiny city state of Singapore had an official presence at SXSW Interactive (technology). Made possible by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) (the CIO of Singapore government), SXSWi saw several of our startups exhibit and pitch there.
SXSW has grown in breadth, depth and number of attendees over the past 25 years: check out this cool infographic. This year was my first time there, as with most of the Singapore delegation. Here are some photos! Gorge yourselves. (Part 2 here.) Read more