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.