Entrepreneurship Live! Video Gallery

Entrepreneurship at its most basic could be defined as using common sense and dedication to serve an unmet market need, allied to passion and vision to push the boundaries of the entrepreneurial activity. Many would-be entrepreneurs skip the first two attributes in the pursuit of the latter ones.

Enjoy watching and listening to the experiences of the Entrepreneurs who have gone the way before you, and indeed you may be able to garner that they are constantly on the alert to keep their business alive, as well as expand it.

Introduction to the Art of Entrepreneurship

  • Up Next Meet (some of) the intrepid entepreneurs
  • Up Next Peter comments on the lack of a suitable guide for entrepreneurs
  • Up Next Singular pay tribute to INSEAD for supporting entrepreneurs

Funding issues in startups

  • Up Next Wayne comments on the reality of business plan requirements versus available funds
  • Up Next Peter compares the interests of investors with entrepreneurs
  • Up Next Reto comments on the difficulty for Singapore-based firms to get early-stage funding
  • Up Next Marc comments on the difficulty of finding government funding for non-supported firms
  • Up Next Reto emphasises that funding is a complex process between two parties, not a straight swap of funds for equity
  • Up Next Singular summarise their process for finding funds
  • Up Next Reto emphasies what investors look for when an entrepreneur comes looking for funds

How useful was your business plan?

  • Up Next Pay2Home found their business plan essential as a road map, and often refer back to it
  • Up Next Krishnan sees the business plan as useful in terms of starting and finding funds
  • Up Next Marc used the business plan as a planning tool before execution, but not since
  • Up Next Peter feels that the business plan is a communication tool to others, a record of their progress, but not something they work from
  • Up Next Singular found the business plan forced them to think through the issues, and communicate their business to others
  • Up Next Pay2Home discovered that the business helped them realise that a market opportunity existed
  • Up Next Darren found the business plan helped them focus on cash flow management

How has your business plan changed?

  • Up Next Krishnan's business plan had to move with the times
  • Up Next Marc's initial target customers had to change
  • Up Next Wayne comments on the assumptions in the original business plan
  • Up Next Singular's target markets changed
  • Up Next Peter has been fortunate not to have had to change the plan
  • Up Next Pay2Home's core plan has not changed, there are a few minor differences in product, and major changes in funding and cash flow

Identifying the Market Opportunity

  • Up Next An opportunistic Darren spotted business opportunities related to his field of research
  • Up Next Peter lists the basic needs in the market which are unmet, and how his product fills the gap
  • Up Next Reto seeks products which are 'must-haves', not 'nice-to-haves', especially where the benefit is directly quantifiable
  • Up Next Pay2Home offers services which are not available otherwise which provide value for the customer

What 3 things do you know now, that you wish you knew then?

  • Up Next Pay2home say when chasing funders and clients don't put all your eggs in one basket as you may be chasing dead ends, understand the geographies...
  • Up Next Darren wished he knew the markets were small, customers paid slowly, and the sales cycle was very slow
  • Up Next Krishnan would look hard at the VC firm as a partner, know taxation better, and pay more attention to the shareholders' agreement
  • Up Next Peter would realise that partners are in it for themselves, researchers are not business people, and investors are not geeks
  • Up Next Peter would realise that partners are in it for themselves, researchers are not business people, and investors are not geeks
  • Up Next Aidan would have spent on quality, offered more services, and charged good money.

What would you have done differently?

  • Up Next Darren would have focused on the customer pipeline earlier, as the local market was smaller than expected
  • Up Next Marc does not believe that they would have done anything differently, but it took them too long to decide on their strategic direction
  • Up Next Peter would spend more time planning things out, rather than taking too many small steps
  • Up Next Singular would have approached investors simultaneously to ensure everyone got the same valuation at once
  • Up Next Referring to his earlier point, Darren would have lined up a customer pipeline as soon as possible to get in cash ASAP
  • Up Next Marc feels that they are still so early in operations, and focused on day to day survival, that it is hard to know what they could have done better.
  • Up Next Singular would have ensured the agreements were well analysed and executed
  • Up Next Wayne reiterates chasing multiple sources of income, and avoiding wasting time and resources chasing dead ends

Getting Started / Execution Challenges

  • Up Next Aidan lost key staff, and his marketing strategies were hit by external factors all at once
  • Up Next Pay2Home describe the steps they took to get off the ground
  • Up Next While they are small, Progeniq are watching cash flow while simultaneously focusing on new business
  • Up Next Singular have worked with partners from the very start, partners are esential in hi tech firms
  • Up Next AsiaPaperMarkets found an industry-savvy angel investor with trade contacts, built up a focused team, found the basic technologies and got support...
  • Up Next Singular look to the future to where they will be in 1 year's time
  • Up Next Reto advises choosing well the timing of starting the business, rather than simply jumping in once you have the idea
  • Up Next Peter comments on how Newbiomed manage growth
  • Up Next Marc emphasises that luck has played a large role in their fortunes
  • Up Next Peter emphasizes that the firm has grown in steady, well-structured, careful steps on a solid base of valuable intellectual property.
  • Up Next Veridis began in an apartment, and is still growing
  • Up Next Reto emphasies the importance of structuring your growth in milestones and solid deliverables
  • Up Next Marc and his partner began with a back of the envelope plan for the firm, starting small from their own resources and clients they would approach
  • Up Next Krishnan emphasies never staying in a comfort zone, and focusing efforts on continual sales growth
  • Up Next Singular share information frankly and continuously with their staff to help manage growth turbulence, and stay as small as possible
  • Up Next Progeniq tap partners from many university resources to support their growth
  • Up Next Singular have received support from several organisations in growing
  • Up Next Progeniq received first funding and premises support from an award, and sought clients through university networks

Why was it a good time to start?

  • Up Next Wayne began when a circumstances came together to open an opportunity
  • Up Next As scientists, Singular's founders discovered a process which they felt had commercial potential, and had to decide to move on or enter business
  • Up Next Marc felt that within his job he was not going places, was able to use his professional experience, and was fed up of wondering if he could do it...
  • Up Next Peter had worked in the area from a consulting perspective, met a partner who had the appropriate technology and wanted to see if he could do it
  • Up Next Marc recalls having met his future business partner and discovering they had similar ideas for new a business
  • Up Next Krishnan entered consulting after INSEAD, but itched to implement not just advise. Chance provided him and some friends the opportunity to work...
  • Up Next Darren and his team saw the need for a specific technology that they were capable of implementing
  • Up Next Aidan was tired of being an employee, and saw how he could do the job better than incumbents

Finding Clients and Marketing

  • Up Next Progeniq had a rainmaking ally in NUS
  • Up Next Marc used previous contacts from his old job, as well as leveraging all his networks
  • Up Next Pay2Home used a start-small approach, building business with firms incrementally over time
  • Up Next Singular benefitted from publicity, and since operate a thriving PR machine
  • Up Next Pay2Home tracked down clients logically based on the type of business they were in
  • Up Next Reto emphasies that investors seek growth, hence Singapore early stage companies must go abroad. But many early stage firms cannot bridge the gap...

Leveraging Networks

  • Up Next Pay2Home have had some success through networks, and could do more, but feel the networking events are too general
  • Up Next AsiaPaperMarkets got their first funds through networking, and the industry is a highly networked one, so they hire people with good connections
  • Up Next Veridis rely strongly on networks of all kinds for finding clients, and possessed strong networks before starting
  • Up Next Newbiomed belong to industry specific networks, but see a need for entrepreneurial forum networks
  • Up Next Singular ID belive that networks are essential, and state that you never know where your next opportunity will come from
  • Up Next Progeniq meet people through networks that they normally would not meet
  • Up Next Newbiomed need to work with partners, due to the nature of their product. Hence specific networks aid them to identify partners and investors.

Growing pains of a small firm

  • Up Next Aidan found getting started extremely difficult in retrospect
  • Up Next Did Singular get lucky?
  • Up Next Pay2Home realise that your cash flow is what matters, and unexpected events can cause major problems

Administration pains in the neck

  • Up Next Getting employment passes for foreigners is something Veridis recommends preparing for
  • Up Next Newbiomed had issues in getting employment passes, and importing restricted products
  • Up Next Singular were bogged down with employment issues and unexpected obscure regulations
  • Up Next Singular find that people tend to value firms in terms of local currencies, which makes for difficulty in agreeing on valuations

Starting a business in Singapore

  • Up Next Pay2Home raves about Singapore as a place to start their kind of business
  • Up Next AsiaPaperMarkets is pleased with the regulatory environment
  • Up Next Progeniq has not gotten direct government support, but has received funding from Startup@Singapore
  • Up Next Peter believes that Singapore is a good base for their business operations and industry in particular, though must look overseas to grow thei markets
  • Up Next Singular ID set up quickly and efficiently, however once off the starters' blocks, there was more regulatory work to be done, including residency...
  • Up Next Peter registered the business very easily
  • Up Next Krishnan underscores the need to look ahead in working with taxation
  • Up Next Reto praises the reliable infrastructure and environment, and 'nearness' to everything, while reiterating the challenge of the local market size
  • Up Next Singular ID were aided well by Government linked organisations, and take advantage of grants and schemes
  • Up Next Peter deals with an efficient bureaucracy, and has received some support from some government agencies
  • Up Next Pay2Home have been well supported by Government departments
  • Up Next Pay2Home have benefitted by being technopreneurs
  • Up Next Aidan came through a recommendation, and discovered it was a good base to see Asia, and live comfortably

Regulatory Issues

  • Up Next Steps for foreign firms who wish to establish a presence in Singapore
  • Up Next How to get an employment pass as a foreigner
  • Up Next Dealing with various government departments
  • Up Next Taxation Issues in Singapore

Top Tips for Singapore Entrepreneurs

  • Up Next Krishnan discourages entering a business about which you know nothing, encourages finding strategic partners, and warns against being personally broke
  • Up Next Marc emphasies that CA$H is king, be careful about excitement in Asia as it does not always translate into execution, and Singapore has a small market
  • Up Next Peter believes you should start young so you can fail without too much impact, in fact one should start a business before doing an MBA
  • Up Next Darren would advise entrepreneurs to get on with building the business rather than simply raise funds
  • Up Next Peter recommends getting good advice, and knowing how to manage knowledge that others can provide
  • Up Next Singular advise going for it 100%, balancing too much caution with sufficient care, and managing time to have a personal life

Choosing Startup Management

  • Up Next Krishnan recommends finding people who share the same values
  • Up Next Reto underscores the need to have people who can sell, and people who understand the market instead of being in love with their product
  • Up Next Reto urges the need to have experienced mentors in the team
  • Up Next Wayne emphasises the importance of deciding to go it alone, or with a partner

Pitfalls, Risks and Contingencies

  • Up Next Reto urges entrepreneurs to screen the environment and ones position, and plan for failures on key weakness points
  • Up Next AsiaPaperMarkets spent heavily on software without understanding it sufficiently.
  • Up Next Veridis, as an intermediary, often suffer cash gaps
  • Up Next Singular ID were unexpectedly stymied on funding
  • Up Next Newbiomed have been lucky so far... but they still structure variable costs over fixed costs, and watch the timing of IP-related issues
  • Up Next Progeniq face small markets, and need to reach abroad quickly
  • Up Next AsiaPaperMarkets suffered the loss of key founders when the dotcom bubble burst, and recommend paying close attention to vesting shares
  • Up Next Pay2Home discovered that things took considerably longer to implement with a key partner and investor

Wishlist for Singapore Entrepreneurship

  • Up Next Peter would like to see mentoring forums for entrepreneurs of all kinds
  • Up Next Wayne would like to see more banking support from SMEs

Some Parting Wisdom

  • Up Next Wayne offers some words of wisdom for the budding entrepreneur
  • Up Next Krishnan comments on the role luck can and will play
  • Up Next Krishnan asks entrepreneurs to examine their motivation and preparedness
  • Up Next Yes, but ... are you having fun
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