Notes from the road, Day #2
Today we had investor meetings, visited corporate innovation offices and did a quick stop-over at the Singapore Management University.
In the morning we’ve started off with the Enterprise Singapore presenting governmental support schemes for startups. Next we met with Tushar Desai, co-founder of Rytle. Rytle is an integrated mobility solution for the last mile delivery. It includes electric cargo bike with an exchange function for standardized transport boxes, self-sufficient mobile container and software to manage the routes and flow of parcels. Rytle went through the German Accelerator program and is now settling in Singapore. Tushar has stressed that for a startup to succeed, they need feet on the ground, building relationships and mentioned the value GASEA has brought in by opening doors for them.
German Accelerator Southeast Asia, was launched last year with the aim of helping German startups expand to the region. Petrina Seah, COO, has emphasized the importance of adjusting the product and business model to the local market and going away from the ‘cookie-cutter’ approach. In Rytle’s case, this meant developing a cold chain box for the tropical climate together with Composite Cluster, a Singaporean company.
The highlight of the evening was the investor roundtable with Grace Xia, Jungle Ventures, Christopher Aw, Pandan Ventures and Damian Tan, Vickers Venture Partners. Many funds in Singapore started with $20-30 million 10 years ago and now are managing $200-300 mln. Vickers’ first fund in 2005 was $9 mln and now they manage $183 million, being one of the most successful funds in the world.
Damian Tan, MD, Vickers Venture Partners is thinking big: “Singapore speaks the language of the internet, and the language of the internet is English and free trade. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia should be a good focus in the coming years for startups.”
Christopher has mentioned that the biggest difference between ASEAN VCs and European is that sometimes family offices are branded as VCs. While there’s nothing wrong with that, the founders need to carefully study the term sheets – it’s not uncommon to be asked for 51% of equity in the seed round. However, this occurs less and less and there are many other offers on the market.
To wrap up, all panelists spoke about the traits of a great entrepreneur.