This Week In Startups
A common startup story
SINGAPORE: When first-time entrepreneurs Daniel Chia and Cynthia Siantar quit their jobs at major financial institutions to create geolocated social networking app BlastOut in 2013, they faced objections from their family members, with Mr Chia’s father commenting “IT cannot make money one.”
However, the duo persevered and moved on to a second venture a year later – financial technology (fintech) start-up Call Levels, which has since raised US$500,000 (S$674,264) from US venture capital firm 500 Startups and several prominent angel investors, including local financial industry veteran Timothy Teo.
Mr Chia, 36, and Ms Siantar, 29, represent an emerging trend in Singapore’s start-up scene, where more banking and finance professionals are viewing entrepreneurship as a better alternative to the money markets.
According to recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Singapore’s senior consultant Faiz Modak, former bankers, traders and finance analysts now make up the bulk of mid-career professionals venturing into the start-up world.
Call Levels helped to address a long-standing need in the industry for a simple monitoring tool, according to Mr Chia, who had more than seven years of experience at Ortus Capital Management and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC. The platform allows both retail investors, as well as seasoned traders and private wealth managers, to set specific price levels that will trigger the app to send out notifications when attained.
The fintech start-up’s flagship product, Canopy, sought to help wealthy individuals compile their financial data across various banks and financial institutions – a service that is expensive to offer and not readily available at the moment.
Serial entrepreneur Lai Chang Wen, for one, set up Ninja Van in 2014 after spotting gaps in Singapore’s logistics services which is playing catch-up with the rapid growth of e-commerce. The last-mile logistics start-up now counts renowned brands in the region, including online and offline retailers Lazada, Zalora and Charles & Keith among its clients, and launched its services in Malaysia three months ago, marking its first foray into an overseas market.
According to the 29-year-old who co-founded custom apparel retailer Marcella prior to Ninja Van, there are currently more than 5 former investment bankers and traders from the likes of Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie and Citibank on his team. Mr Lai, an ex-trader with Barclays Capital, attributed that to the growing notion of pursuing one’s passion among the millennial generation.
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Topics from the week ;
entrepreneurs who are determined to make this happen.
Startup Muster – Annual survey is on again –
Plentific – a proptech startup that operates a ‘find a professional’ service – has secured £2m in funding.
The service, which lists 75,000 professionals from surveyors to plumbers and is linked with Zoopla, has secured its latest funding from a number of start-up sources including Property Innovation Labs.
Ford Motor Co. is among five investors providing $6.6 million in seed funding for Civil Maps, a California startup that creates three-dimensional maps for autonomous cars.The startup uses artificial-intelligence software to aggregate raw 3-D data from sensors on self-driving cars to create highly detailed maps used to direct autonomous vehicles.
India – Top 7 solutions for building a successful startup
The Government of India’s Startupindia action plan includes promising policies like startup funding, single point registration, simplified regime, fast track patent application, and tax exemptions to list a few.
No business plan
Persistence and commitment
Poor compliance & financial control
Adjusting to change
Google has acquired an Israeli-American startup that develops products for sharing content among friends and groups.
The startup, Kifi, said in a statement this week that it will be joining the Spaces team at Google “to build solutions focused on improving group sharing, conversation, and content finding.” Spaces is an untraditional messaging app that enables groups to share content, including images, links and videos.
Naomi Simson on how to build a highly engaged startup team
CONNECTED TO CORE VALUES
ABLE TO LEARN AND GROW
GET FIT TOGETHER
HAVE PRIDE IN THEIR WORK
CAN CONTRIBUTE TO OTHERS
Atlassian makes its first startup acquisition since the Australian tech giant’s $6 billion IPO
Atlassian has bought a small Y Combinator-incubated startup, marking its first acquisition since the Australian startup success story’s $6 billion IPO late last year.
Announced in a blog post by co-founder and CEO Scott Farquhar, Atlassian has acquired Denver-based startup StatusPage for an undisclosed amount of money.
Founded three years ago, StatusPage is a platform allowing online businesses to create a custom page to update customers and internal staff about the status of their online services.
Crowdfunding pushes three Startups to the peak
Three startups have successfully closed their funding campaigns in the recent months and days: Blinkers – striving to improve bikers’ safety on the road, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to finance their smart lights “Blinkers with over 53’000 Euro, ELEPHBO – lephbo recycles cement packaging material in Cambodia and turns them into wicked classy accessories whilst supporting the ones in need and contributing to a better environment. with 34’000 Swiss Francs and BB Air – Bb Air are high quality Bluetooth headphoneswith over CHF 45’500 in ten days. Initially the BB Air founders set their goal at CHF 30’000.
Samsung SDS boosting startup investment
Samsung SDS has invested in two security industry startups as part of its corporate investment drive into emerging IT sectors, such as financial technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) and healthcare.
The company said Thursday it decided to invest in Darktrace, a U.K.-based cybersecurity startup, and Seoul-based blockchain platform operator Blocko. Samsung SDS did not reveal the investment value.
There’s a Startup Weekend happening in Mauritius
There’s a Startup Weekend in the island nation of Mauritius taking place from 15 to 17 July at the BPML CyberTower 1 in Ebene. The event is expecting around 60 participants, including entrepreneurs, professionals, and students.
PSA Working with Range Extender Startup to Compete with Toyota and Renault-Nissan
French automaker PSA Group is trying out battery-powered cars that recharge with an on-board single-piston generator, to become more competitive with rivals Toyota and Renault-Nissan.
Aquarius Engines, an Israeli startup, said a major European carmaker had agreed to fund further development and road tests of its single-piston generator design. The supplier declined to identify the customer, but PSA, the maker of Peugeot, Citroen and DS cars, confirmed its involvement.
Twitter buys start-up for $150 millionTwitter
A company that uses machine-learning to improve images and video has been acquired by Twitter only two years after starting up.
London-based Magic Pony Technology was founded by recent graduates Rob Bishop and Zehan Wang. It has 11 members of staff with expertise in computer vision, machine learning, high-performance computing and computational science.
Its technology improves the quality of video captured with low-resolution cameras by recognising patterns and textures.
2016 could be a record year for UK startups embracing the “Brexit spirit”
More than 600 startups launched per day in London in the first six months of 2016, new figures show. And Startup Britain, which compiled the figures, believes the “Brexit spirit” will lead to this year being a record-breaker for new companies in the UK.
Across the country as a whole, 342,927 companies were started between January and June. And nearly a third, 109,443, sprouted in the capital.
California-based “internet of energy” start-up Geli is set to establish a regional hub in Australia, backed by a $3 million investment from Australia’s Southern Cross Renewable Energinternet of energyy Venture Capital Fund, with the support of ARENA and Softbank China Venture Capital.
Founded in San Francisco in 2010, Geli – or Growing Energy Labs Inc – develops “hardware agnostic” software and business solutions to design, connect, and operate energy storage and microgrid systems.
This makes Australia, already targeted by the global battery storage industry as a key growth market, an obvious destination for Geli.
Being able to tell good stories.
No one will give you money or agree to work for you if you’re bad at storytelling. Every pitch — whether it’s to a VC or a sales prospect — is a story, and the best ones have compelling narrative arcs that connect listeners to a higher purpose. In most cases, a story succeeds when you connect a smaller idea or action to something bigger — a purpose, a movement, an emotion. This is how you get people to follow you on a journey, whether they’re a customer following you through your product, or an employee agreeing to grueling startup hours to be a part of your vision. This skill becomes essential as soon as you have even one employee,
It’s your responsibility to keep them connected to the dream of what you’re building together — through the hardest of times. You have to look at it as an integral part of your job, just as or even more important than your product, engineering or design skills.
Europe’s AI gurus are going to lend their expertise to a new startup factory in Hong Kong
Zeroth, as the accelerator is known, will offer 10 startups $20,000 each (£15,000) in exchange for a 6% equity stake. Startups will also receive mentoring and office space.
The accelerator is being launched by Tak Lo, who was previously a director at accelerator TechStars London.
It is hard to hear or read anything related to technology these days without coming across the term blockchain. Bitcoin technology has become such a hype, despite there being no clear first-mover advantage. But that isn’t keeping entrepreneurs from creating new blockchain startups all over the world. In fact, the Outlier Ventures blockchain angels startup tracker lists 967 companies so far.
As one would come to expect, the vast majority of startups is located throughout the United States. That is not entirely surprising, considering how the region is pumping a lot of money into Bitcoin as well. To put this into perspective, most of the Ethereum-based startups are located in Europe, with a strong focus on the UK and Germany.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government together with Seoul-based business incubator Rehoboth is recruiting promising startups from home and abroad to join a new business incubation program to be launched at the Seoul Global Startup Center (Seoul GSC) in aspiration to turn the capital into a hotbed for innovations.
The Seoul city government and Rehoboth Business Incubator on Saturday unveiled the Seoul GSC business incubation program at Najin Electronic World in central Seoul where the Seoul GSC will be based.
Any small enterprises with at least one full-time foreign employee, or startups with a plan to make an overseas expansion are eligible to apply. Businesses with a higher presence of foreign employees have bigger chance of benefiting from the business support program. Anyone who is about to launch a business or has been running a business in recent five years is also eligible.