Reboot and Start-Up

I have just updated Windows 10 into my laptop. I have yet to test the system out fully. Initial updating processing and start-up took some time.10-pro-tips-on-relaunching-startup-website

I have been reading up on start-ups recently. Watching a few videos on pitches made in Start-Up Singapore, and of course spent lots of time watching Shark Tanks.

During this period I have met up with two of these companies in Singapore and talked to the founders / co-founders.

Just writing down some thoughts. Basically I feel that the start-ups in this region and particularly Singapore is more geared towards Tech companies, the market is relatively small here and scaling up is an issue (especially for non-tech companies).

When I was watching Shark Tank, I get to see a whole spectrum of products being pitched. Be it edible cups (Loliware), scrubs that turn hard or soft, when in cold or hot water (Scrub Daddy), a better way to inflate an object (Windcatcher), a Service that bring the wedding chapel to you via a van (Vegas Wedding Van), new type of vegan cheese (Heidi Ho), and of course the tech start-ups ValPark Mobile, and an alternate version for renting apartments for football matches (Rent Like Champion)..

Basically, it is like investing on steroids. The sharks do their evaluation in a matter of seconds or minutes. From analyzing via cash flow valuation, to business model / narratives and possible collaborations etc.

When I watched Startup Asia Singapore, I see lots of Tech start-ups. Some that hail from Malaysia, China, Thailand etc. We see DodoHub, Triibe, Xantu, Lots of Button.. (click here) from other website, I came across Shopspot.

Basically I am not into tech companies, as I felt that their business moat is typically narrow, and at some times beyond my circle of competence. However, there are a few that caught my attention by virtue of their business eg. Shopspot and Triibe.

Investing in start-ups is always risky. It is different from investing in listed mature companies with proven track records.

I reckon it is a more hands on approach to investing. Making contact with these companies, asking about their business. (I even made contact with the US companies)

I am particularly intrigued with one company. The co-founder was pretty frank with me – that their net profit was still negative, and is in the initial stage of gaining traction and building up the users.

And oh yes, they do not need any investment at the moment but he spent a good 2 hours explaining to me about their services (until 9.30pm), showed me their business power-point slides, new app that has yet to be launched and was asking if I can help in other ways via contacts etc. He himself is not drawing a salary yet. Their business model is still very raw, and I don’t see how they can monetize their services yet. Well, there is always this thin line between a hobby and a profitable business.

Would love to hear about your stories with start-ups.



About apenquotes

Born in 1976. Married with 2 kids (a boy and a girl). A typical Singaporean living in a 4 room HDB flat. Check out my Facebook Page:
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8 Responses to Reboot and Start-Up

  1. tacomob says:

    A few months back I attended an Investor Briefing Session by IDD SolutionNet here in Singapore. The founder has found a very promising niche where he marries the IT-domain with the requirements of the Safety Industry especially in the construction sector where the vast majority of work related accidents happen. I invested after weighing the pros and cons for a few days. As the company is still very small I am even actively involved in helping the founder to launch his i.Safe Technology Suite.
    As far as I know they are still open to take additional investors on board.


    • apenquotes says:

      Thank you.
      I would like to find out more on the Investor Briefing Session by IDD SolutionNet. Was wondering how did you manage to attend such a briefing session.
      The business you are talking about, is it the same as this?

      Actually, there are different levels of start-ups. For some companies, their financials are still in the red, while others are earning modest revenues, increasing bit by the years.

      Would like to find out more about their business? Is there a person I can contact?


      • tacomob says:

        Wow, you are very resourceful. Yes exactly, that is the business I am talking about.
        Are you a registered investor on the Singapore Investment Network? If yes, then just drop them a question or mention that you are interested.
        If not, then drop me a mail and I will take it from there.


      • apenquotes says:

        Yes I am a registered investor in the Singapore Investment Network.
        Sure will drop them a note. There wasn’t much you can read or infer from that website.So initially I didn’t think much about it. Actually I am from the construction industry, and workplace safety is an area which is quite debatable since it is often the contractor who employ the Safety Officer (conflict of interest).

        I have been spending quite a bit of time reading up on start-ups recently.
        I have actually went down to Blk 71, 72, 73 at Ayer Rajah Crescent (click here) yesterday afternoon to check the area, but since it was a Saturday afternoon, it was a ghost town.


  2. tacomob says:

    Yeah, it is a pity that people still debate about safety instead of spending more efforts to apply best in class safety precautions. Ok, granted, those do cost money, change in processes and mindsets. But then what is the value of one life?
    The construction sector in Singapore ‘contributed’ to 55% of all fatalities in workplaces.
    I believe safety is a cheap and effective insurance policy.


    • apenquotes says:

      The start up company I talked to mentioned that they have tied up with some statutory boards and is involved in some of their policies. It appears that this company is also involved in some ways (MOM). Perhaps the market in Singapore is just too small, and the Singapore Government is taking on a bigger role in helping start-ups.

      The Workplace safety in Singapore is still very traditional, eg. officers go on site to check and record. And like you say, these safety measures do cost time and money, and contractors are not keen to invest more in them (does not contribute significantly in their bottom line).

      If I am not wrong, this company is providing an IT software that makes recording offences down easier (even mobile enabled). It may be offering a better data processor. However, it still boils down to the officers to check and the contractor to implement. Sometimes there is a conflict of interest between the WSH officers employed by the contractors to enforce the rules…
      I wonder how much it can make workplace a safer place.

      When I look at the “Mid-term 5 year strategic plan for i.Safe deployment” in one of the documents (iSafe Strategic Deployment Plan-v5 25112015.pdf) in the Investment Netwrok Website, the Prudent profit margin 30% states that in 2016, there will be 2.2 mil. So technically if you earn 1% of the company, you get $22,000 of the profit? However, in another PDF (tIDD_SolutionNet_PL_BS_2012 to 2014.pdf) that shows the total revenue & total expense, the net profit for 2014 is only $9,319 so if you have 1% stake, you get $93?
      Totally confused by the financials.


      • tacomob says:

        I understand. Not to worry about the financials. 2012-2014 was the previous business of IDD SolutionNet based on little customized ERP-SW revenue. 2016 onwards is in consideration of the full roll-out of i.Safe SW. One can hardly compare those financials due to the massive change in business focus from pre-2016 to then onwards.


      • apenquotes says:

        Hmm… that is a drastic jump in revenue. Basically till today there is still no earnings to justify the SGD 2.6 million valuation.
        They must have done a good presentation to you on their products.


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