A dream that hasn’t died (:

Posted on May 8, 2009. Filed under: Enterpreneurship, Personal | Tags: , , , |

Ahh~ I still recall the days when I was in in Kindergarten or lower primary, playing play-pretend games with my sis (or soft toys after my sis outgrew such games). I always loved to be the cashier of a “Ma Ma shop”, or also known as a minimart typically run by local Indians (haha not sure what it was of this ethnicity).

I also recall my mum’s words when I told her about my random ideas after graduating from Junior College. “Stop dreaming, only one in a million reach that stage. Just go get a 10k+/month job!!”.

Now things have changed so much in my family, and it has given us the courage to take the first step.. Sometimes, all you need is a little push, a situation that gives you the courage to fulfil your dreams.

We’ll see if it works out! 😉 If it doesn’t, at least we’ve given it a shot and tried our best.
On the side note, Grasshopper.com is seriously good at marketing themselves! haha

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Entry Pass to Venture Capitalists

Posted on May 1, 2009. Filed under: Enterpreneurship | Tags: , , , , , , , |

For those who have read my profile or past entries, you would be aware that I was an intern under the Enterprise division of the Ministry of Trade over at sunny Singapore. During this stint, I got to be involved in many eye-opening projects; projects that provided the overview on the local entrepreneurial landscape. There was one particular project on the VC landscape in Singapore that gave me the “Oh My Gosh” moment.

With reference to Israel, America, and even China, the local VC landscape is lacking in comparison. I’m not sure of the exact reasons for this. But some pointers came upto my mind :

  1. Small local market size, thus most start-ups have to ensure that they can go international and stay competitive
  2. Singapore is “laggy” in the entrepreneurial scene. This is attributed by our heavy reliance on jobs from foreign SMEs and MNCs during the first few decades since our independence
  3. Lack of diverse talents coming together to form effective management teams. Like it or not, the habit of isolation among Singaporeans have made it harder for people from different
  4. Crowding out effect due to too many Government grants? This is highly controversial though. The Singapore government has been very proactive in giving out grants, and this can be seen on the enterpriseone website.

One of the government schemes that has collaborated with private equity is the Business Angels Scheme (BAS). Under this scheme, for every S$1 invested by Business Angel Funds, the governemnt will invest S$2 (capped to S$1.5 million)


One of my supervisor then told me about his own personal side project and asked if I would like to join in. Given that it is…SUMMER BREAK now, I agreed.

Basically, he is very much involved in the private venture capital industry. The company he is acting as an advisor to, Gingko Capital LLC, specializes in institutional placement services for alternative asset managers including private equity funds and venture capital funds.

By joining his network, you can expect to find videos from past entrepreneurs, VCs, invitations to VC-Entrepreneurs summits (past invites include Founder of Skype) , contacts and personal referrals to top-quartile VCs such as Walden International (VC behind About.com), Draper Fisher Jurvetson (VC behind Meebo, Baidu and Skype) and Sequoia Capital.

See what is available onthe site (e.g. membership, purchase via Paypay and do remember to write in to gingkocapital@gmail.com for the the 10% discount. The discount code to email is: SLPAUL.


For some extra read on the advisor of Gingko Capital, Tan Yinglan, read: Tan Yinglan

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Having the right vision from the start

Posted on April 12, 2009. Filed under: Enterpreneurship | Tags: , |

Vinod Khosia, co founder of Sun Microsystems, talks about the….
Importance of a having a big vision: how small actions lead to fulfilling a big vision.

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Need for more robust Entrepreneurial ecosystem in Singapore

Posted on April 12, 2009. Filed under: Enterpreneurship | Tags: |

Found an interesting read posted by Daniel, founder of youngupstarts.com, on the lack of ecosystem supporting start-ups here at Singapore.

Having researched into the exactly same topic while I was an Intern over at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (Enterprise division), I couldn’t help but threw it my two cents worth.

There is a lack of ecosystem in terms of specialised services to help jumpstart start ups. While Singapore is a small country, it seems that our small geographical area has not created much aggregation effect which Silicon Valley has enjoyed. This is perhaps due to to the dilution of many goals the government has for this tiny red dot.

Market adoption:
During my internship, I realised the importance of having anchor customers, especially for the high-tech coys. If one considers starting from the local market, there are really very few big players that can serve this role. Furthermore, it is hard to expect the government to be an anchor customer. This is because not every business has an offering that fulfills the need of our government agencies. However, it is still useful to note that most government-backed (not as customers) SMEs/post IPOs do make it big in the international scene. Some examples are 77th street, CapitalMall/land etc.

Lack of mentors:
This is perhaps due to the lack of success stories in Singapore. And when i mean success stories, i mean businesses that were truly innovative to begin with and have grown from there. Much of our successful businesses started off with our pioneers mimicking what is offered overseas, and simply bringing it into our then underdeveloped nation. Furthermore, much of our economic development was based on us riding on foreign MNCs. Hence, with little experience in truly starting up, there is few local mentors around. However, the government has started to realise this and embarked on several mentorship programmes in NUS and SMU. However, the quality of mentorship and extent of networks these programmes offer are still questionable.

Perhaps one more point to add to the lack of ecosystem that was not mentioned by Daniel:
the need for cross-interaction between different industries/sectors.
As a current student in a university that is highly skewed towards business but less on technology, it is hard for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop an innovative product. The lack of technology background can lead to two worries: (1) having to copy other technology in order to start a business. This is non lucrative as it is likely the new startup will not be able to sustain its unique proposition. (2) the heavy reliance on others make it hard for aspiring entrepreneurs to know how to start. To share your idea and get a tech-guy to develop it? However, this might risk him selling your idea, unless you have such strong customer network that he feels compelled to stick by you. However, it is unlikely for youngsters to have such sales power.

Perhaps a summary of what is needed is: An aggregation effect of different specialised services, having a cross-pollination of ideas between different sectors, and finally, to have real mentors to guide the new entrepreneurs.

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    Recording the thoughts and actions of an Asian seedling, who is – SproutingOut


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