Happy to be part of the panel at CNA. To view, go to this link
Original ideas and coming up with them is hard. Very hard.
As we navigate Southeast Asia (and Taiwan) working with entrepreneurs in various cities in Southeast Asia, it is extremely challenging to come up with an original idea that matters and lends to your strengths and passion. Getting the formula right is tough.
As I looked at our portfolios (over 12 now going on 14 - most of which are not publicly known) and ideas from Founder Institute in the Southeast Asian region that have received early attention, funding offers and even exited via acquisitions. I noticed there are generally 3 idea types.
A team solving a very local problem or creating a movement or change of behavior within a market that is large enough to be sustainable and not to be distracted about scaling too early because of revenue pressures.
A team solving a local problem or creating a movement or change of behavior first with ambition to bring the solution to other regional countries. Most of the time it shows the ambition of the team but sometimes it is because their chosen market or markets are still too small to be sustainable.
A team solving a problem or creating a movement or change of behavior in a new and original way that position them to be global from day one. For some reason, there are limited and weak to no competitors.
From our data, companies in the 3rd category achieve customer, investor and media interests rather early on in their lifecycle. Even for myself, I am more excited if teams presented something original and unique than something that is a “clone with a spin or a twist”.
As such I am building a little research experiment to help founders work towards ideas that are original and have product hooks that engage users all in a pace and direction that suits the founder on a personal level.
I hope the outcome can help more founders move their ideas to another level (if they wish to) and also to help more aspiring founders to be slightly more prepared as they get involved with events such as Startup Weekend, Lean Startup Machines, hackathons etc.
Ping me if you are interested to discuss or join in the experiment.
Interns ah, how we love to brainwash you.
At Golden Gate Ventures in 2013, we have our largest cohort of interns ever since we were in business a year ago. Our first intern in 2012, Justin Hall has since joined us as an associate just a few months ago.
Most of them joined us for the summer and I had great fun working with some of them, sometimes too much fun. I have promised them that I will brainwash them whenever I could and try to make their internship a win-win for both parties. I believe I accomplished most if not all of those promises. They have diligently helped us with investment activities, startup research, event organization, and also working with aspiring founders at the Founder Institute (Singapore). We hope the various activities and people you met has broaden your horizons in what the startup world is like. (99% chaos x ambiguity)
Some parting advice for the interns whom have crossed my path this year and also to those who have not.
Hit me up if you need anything. You know where to find me.
And for all the hard work and laughs. Mahalo.
It is with a heavy heart yet again this time of the year where another batch of founders are graduating from Founder Institute Singapore. This is my fifth run and it has been an interesting ride to say the least.
It went by really fast and not without drama even though Adeo was not here to kick off the semester. We tested a few things running the semester this time round and spent a little more time getting to know the founders in and out of class. The Founders in the Bay 2012 trip gave a boost to the class from a fellow founder Sam from Family Play who was with me and 9 other founders in the Bay Area.
It is always heartening to watch them grow, mature, harden like real steel in the world of business and startups. Towards the end of the semester, ideas get sharper and more focused. Visions become bolder but executable. Many of them have put on more “confidence” as they will all soon know enough they will be jumping into the unknown. Several will do very well, some of whom have received term sheets before graduating, which is interesting considering we are an idea stage incubator. Finally, we have the largest female cohort (25% are female grads) ever to graduate at one go, and all of whom are pretty special. They are determined and can hustle with the best men and women out there.
In closing, a few words for those of you who are graduating:
YOU ALREADY HAVE THE BALLS TO GO THROUGH WITH THIS AND FINISH, SO PLEASE AIM BIG. LOOK TO CHANGE OR REINVENT OLD INDUSTRIES IF NOT THE WORLD (NOONE SAID IT IS GOING TO BE EASY). IT IS NOW YOUR JOURNEY TO BUILD THE COMPANY YOU WANT TO WORK FOR, NOONE CAN TALK YOU OUT OF IT EXCEPT YOURSELF. THE @FOUNDING FAMILY IS ALWAYS HERE.
HOWEVER MUCH YOU HAVE LEARNT, GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY. YOU ARE HEADS ABOVE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE SINGAPORE ECOSYSTEM SO BE PROUD AND SHOW THEM THE WAY.
NO GOODBYES, LET’S START DOING.
Thank you again to all mentors and sponsors alike who made SGFI happen!