Category Archives: Startups

No U-Turn Syndrome (NUTS)

NUTS is when you want to do something and you seek approval of a higher authority. When there is no rule saying that you can do such a thing, then the standard answer is NO …

In the US, when there is no sign on the road, it means that you can make a U-turn. When the authorities do not want people to make U-turns, they will put up signs to tell you not to make U-turns. In Singapore, it is the reverse. When there is no sign on the road, you are not allowed to make U-turns. When the authorities allow you to make U-turns, then they will put up signs to give you that right.

The two different systems serve the same purpose – to better manage the traffic. They may look quite similar, just coming from different directions, but the social repercussion is significant.

Chaotic Thoughts from the Old Millenium, Sim Wong Hoo, Creative Technology Pte Ltd, 1999


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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Entrepreneurial Marketing, Startups


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8 Startup Myths exposed (Kevin Systrom & Mike Kreiger, Instagram)

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders @ Stanford (21 June 2011)

By Kevin Systrom & Mike Kreiger, Instagram

6 to 7 months after launching, 6 photos taken using Instagram every second. What are the Startup Myths? Let’s see what the Instagram co-founders have to share!

Myth #1: You can learn to be an Entrepreneur from a blog, a book or a talk.


  • 1 day on the job -> 1 year in the book
  • Experience teaches you to make better decisions with limited data
  • Do many projects early, learn from them
  • The truth: You are never ready, but that’s the fun part
You can’t call yourself an entrepreneur, others have to call you one.

Users care about the products they are going to use, not the events you went to or the Techcrunch posts.

Myth #2: Startups can only be started by Computer Science students


  • Early Twitter Team didn’t go to college, Kevin & Mike didn’t major in CS
  • Sink or Swim School of Engineering – MVP
  • Generalists are perfect for startups
  • Find co-founders that complement you

The people you meet before, during and an event matters more than the slides shown on the screen.

Myth #3: Finding the solution to the problems is the hardest part

  • Finding the problem to solve is the hardest part
  • It’s easy to build solutions to problems no one have
  • How do you know if you’re solving the right problems?
  • It’s ok to solve simple problems

Myth #4: Work for months building a robust product in secrecy, then launch to the world (a.k.a Stealth Startup)


  • Make your product public quickly, test the hypothesis!
  • Build the minimum viable product that answers, “Are we building the right thing?”
  • Fail early and often, make failing as low cost as possible
Fail your way to success.

Your first idea is no going to be your final idea.

Myth #5: Start a bidding war among VCs with a slick pitch deck


  • Raise only when you need to get off the ground (not that much)
  • Optimize for people, not valuation
  • Focus on a prototype, and traction, not a fancy pitch deck

Myth #6: Starting a company = Building a product


  • Starting a company is 50% building a product and 50% other stuffs
  • Recruiting, building, and managing a team
  • Raising Capital
  • Insurance, taxes, etc

It is not all about a great idea, it is finding the right people to bring in to make that idea happen.
Myth #7: Successful startups come from a single great idea


  • First idea is likely not the last one
  • Your job is to explore the solution space
  • Themes will follow you
  • Sharing and Discussing helps!

Myth #8: Great startups happen overnight


  • Overnight successes take 5 years
  • Success comes from the foundations you’ve built along the way
  • Even with the right idea, you’re fighting to the next hill
  • Success can seem retrospect, but in reality, it’s never that easy
To watch the full video of the talk, go to eCorner @ STVP Stanford!


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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Events, Mobile Apps, Startups


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WeWork & General Assembly @ New York

WeWork and General Assembly are places in New York which provides space for small companies, startups, and entrepreneurs to hang around.

Went to WeWork and the space focuses on Open Concept and ideas sharing. Total of five floors of office space and facilities to house startups and innovation.


154 Grand St

New York, NY 10013

General Assembly is a  “campus” for entrepreneurs seeking to transform the industry through Technology and Design. A comfy place for inspiring entrepreneurs to sit around and discuss on ideas and their products.


902 Broadway, 4th Floor

New York, NY 10010

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Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Events, Interesting, Startups


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Singapore – Investing in Startups

Business Angel Network (Southeast Asia) (BANSEA)

The Business Angel Network (Southeast Asia) (BANSEA) was established in Singapore in 2001 by a group of Singapore-based angel investors, with loose network connections to investor groups in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Inspired by the professionalism of angel groups like the Band of Angels in Silicon Valley and the Tech Coast Angels in Southern California, BANSEA’s vision is to foster the development of a vibrant, professional angel investment community in Singapore by providing a platform for knowledge-sharing and deal-syndication among investors as well as a platform for matching start-up deals with investors.

BANSEA introduced a Start-up Mentorship Program, whereby a pool of BANSEA chartered members offer to provide face-to-face mentoring service to start-up entrepreneurs in return for an honorarium. In addition, BANSEA also organizes training workshops for entrepreneurs and angel investment forums for members. BANSEA also participates in various activities fostering the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Singapore, with members serving as judges in various business plan competitions and providing inputs to government policy making.

Spring Singapore, EDB Singapore

Business Angel Funds
In encouraging experienced angel investing, SPRING SEEDS Capital works closely with three pre-approved private business angel funds to co-invest and nurture growth-oriented, innovative start-ups. Similar to the Startup Enterprise Development Scheme (“SEEDS”), this is an equity-based co-financing option for Singapore-based early-stage companies.

If the start-up is able to obtain investment interest and commitment from any of the three business angel funds, SPRING SEEDS Capital could potentially match the intended amount (dollar-for-dollar) of up to a maximum of S$1.5 million. Both SPRING SEEDS Capital and the business angel group will take equity stakes in the company in proportion to their investments.

SPRING Startup Enterprise Development Scheme (SPRING SEEDS)
SPRING SEEDS Capital Pte Ltd (SPRING SEEDS Capital), a wholly owned subsidiary of SPRING Singapore, manages the SEEDS investment fund.

The SPRING Start-up Enterprise Development Scheme (SPRING SEEDS) is an equity-based co-financing option for Singapore-based start-ups creating innovative products and/or processes, possessing intellectual content and strong growth potential across international markets.

SPRING SEEDS Capital co-invests into commercially viable local start-ups, with differentiated value proposition and matches dollar-for-dollar to third-party investor(s), up to $1million, upon investment approval.

To date, SPRING SEEDS Capital has invested in various growth sectors such as science and technology, information communications technology and business services space.

Technology Enterprise Commercialisation Scheme (TECS)
SPRING is committed to the growth and development of innovative and competitive enterprises. As part of our efforts to develop a new breed of technologically innovative global enterprises, the Technology Enterprise Commercialisation Scheme (TECS) aims to catalyse the formation and growth of such start-ups based on strong technology Intellectual Property and a scalable business model.

We recognise the risks involved in the R&D of entirely new, innovative and potentially market-changing technology IP. Hence, through the TECS, SPRING provides early-stage funding to successful applicants to fund such R&D efforts towards the commercialisation of proprietary technology ideas.

The TECS is a competitive grant in which proposals are ranked based on the evaluation of both technical and commercial merits by a team of reviewers, and the best are funded. Submissions can be made through this TECS portal anytime, throughout the year. Proposals are reviewed every two months or earlier.

Young Entrepreneurs Scheme for Start-ups (YES! Start-ups)
This scheme provides funding support of up to S$50,000 for youths to set up their innovative startup. SPRING matches S$4 for every S$1 that you raise through self-funding, schools or third-party sources, the grant is capped at S$50,000. For example, if you apply for a S$40,000 grant, you must match this with a S$10,000 investment.

There are business plan competitions in NUS, NTU, and SMU that provides initial funding to the winners.

What are you waiting for?

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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Startups


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University Expo 2011 – Plug and Play Sunnyvale

Went to University Expo 2011 at Plug and Play Tech Center at Sunnyvale.

Startups in the West Coast Battle:

1. iCracked Inc. Cal Poly

2. Ignition Tutoring Stanford (Fav)

3. Junglee Games San Jose State

4. Ditto Stanford

5. Picatchca UC Berkeley

6. Kopo Kopo UC Berkeley (Fav)

7. Style Tech UCLA

8. Write Reel UCLA

9. Twepto UC Santa Barbara (Fav)

10. Gripnote UC Irvine

11. Imprint Energy UC Berkeley

Startups in the National Battle

1. Hulk FM Inc. Cornell

2. Bookstore Genie George Washington

3. Nooch Inc Duke

4. YourMech MIT (Fav)

5. CampusSplash George Washington (Fav)

6. Effimax Salor University of Illinois

7. Black Lotus Carnegie Mellon

8. MIT (Fav)

9. SANA Care Harvard

Keynote Speakers

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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Events, Startups


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Starting – Structuring – Scaling (Marissa Mayer, Google)

I went to TiEcon 2011 at Santa Clara Convention Center. Marissa Mayer was there for the last Keynote, definitely my take-away for the event. She talked about the 3 S.

Many people want to do a business just because of Money. The successful startups are ideas that work on problems that matter, having a social impact. She emphasized on hiring the correct team. Hire the smart ones and those who can get things done. If they are smart but they can’t get things done. ineffective. If they can get things done but not smart, ineffective too. The starting phase of a startup s never easy. Burning nights, sacrificing weekends are part of her life during her first 5 years in Google.

Focusing on users matters a lot. Be users-centric.

    • OKRS=Objectives, Key Results (milestones, achievements, etc)
    • Product Roadmaps (quarterly, monthly, etc)
    • Snippets: A monday morning email to rase the morale of the employees
    • 20% time: Leaving a set of personal time for employees to do what they want to do, they will produce effective results

Startup is about innovation, not perfect perfection
Startups need to come out with creative products time to time. They can’t survive by maintaining the “prefection” they have. Apple always reate new products. From the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad and many more…

Castle-building vs Bird-watching
There are two ways of structuring your business. Castle building is building slowly and launching after a long time spent on building. Some risks are like the market might move to a different direction, and there is no customer feedback about the product.Bird watching is launching a Beta A, Beta B, and other versions and the product will pivot according to the market direction and user feedbacks.
Fail Fast, Learn Quick!

Data is the backbone. Revenue and users are examples of datas that will show the scalability pf the startup. These will allow more efficient and logical decision making.

If I have a chance, I will come back to TiEcon, but not as a normal attendee, but more than sombody.

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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Events, Startups


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Finding a Tech Co-founder for your Startup

Every tech startup needs at least a tech co-founder, who does the coding. That means that the non-tech co-founder will be the “business” guy, which is everything except coding. From talking to customers for feedbacks to convincing people to buy, the “business” guy do all sorts of things.

Everybody has ideas. Most important is the execution, and where to find the right person to work with you to execute the idea? Especially in the valley, where engineers are scarce. What I find is common is that a group of Google chaps or Apple chaps will fire themselves from the company and do a start-up. Most of the times, co-founders of successful startups knew each other and worked together for quite some time already. Can strangers or new friends be co-founders? Les likely.

Some entrepreneurs say find a co-founder is like finding a wife. Co-founders are like couples. Their startup is their baby. Where do you find your wife? Where do you meet your co-founder? Go for more meetups! Meetups where developers and software engineers will be at! Look into Linkedin! You wouldn’t know if any of your middle school friend is a hacker. Look into your connections.

It is good for every non-technical co-founder to learn to do basic coding, do a simple website out. At least there is something to pitch to your co-founder. It is hard to tell a idea using bare words. That is why demos are “compulsory” in pitches.

For me personally,

I want to be the business development guy. I like to get the products out in the market and do customer and product development. I have ideas, a few lame ideas, and a few crazy one. Recently, there are a few ideas at the back of my head. Few days later, a report on Techcrunch reporting that it is done by a Startup. I was disappointed, but my friend told me, “You shouldn’t feel disappointed. You should feel happy, because your idea is validated. You can execute it better.” True, ideas are everywhere. It is the execution that matters.

Conclusion, it is not about the idea, it is about the team, finding the right co-founder

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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Startups


Selling your idea

You got a great idea, but how do you sell it effectively?

1. How to break the ice

- Skilled communicators know how to grab the attention of their listeners.

- When selling an idea you’re pitching yourself – you are the brand.

2. Practice your Pitch

- Clear, concise, specific and emotional

- Focus on the benefit of the others

3. Applying your Pitch

- know your audience and speak their language

- Acknowledge pain points

- Keep your audience top in mind

4. State the risk

- Acknowledge potential problems and provide solutions

- Be ready for objections and be ready to tell them how new and different your idea is

5. Follow up, ask questions and set a course of action



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