Startup Roots Speaker Series #7 Recap – Darius Cheung

It was almost like old times when I sat next to Darius in HackerspaceSG at last week’s 7th Startup Roots Speaker Series, until you realize he’s already walked the talk with the successful sale of tenCube to McAfee, while I’m still slogging away as a peon, trying to make sure I run Neoteny Labs right.  All our past speakers have been great, but I wanted to feature one of our own homegrown entrepreneurs to give our fellows a complete picture.

In my opinion, Darius and tenCube represents one of the few successes of Singapore Tech Startup 2.0, a generation that got going from around 2005 and has only seen its ranks swell in recent years.  It took Darius and his team a longer time to achieve their exit because they were pioneering entrepreneurs in a nascent ecosystem with few believers, starved of next-round funding, seasoned startup talent market and exit liquidity.  It also didn’t help that they were slightly ahead of their time, with smartphones and platforms only playing catch up in recent years in terms of user friendliness and functionality, to finally make losing them a huge pain.

One of our fellows asked Darius why he decided to sell after more than 5 years, to which Darius replied:

I looked at the number of phones we were on, and it was 1% of the smartphones on the market. I believe we can achieve our initial vision (of securing your phones) quicker and better with the resources and access that McAfee can bring.

The 30-odd strong crowd, as seen from my vantage point. More folks were on the right.

Darius gave a brief presentation about himself at the start. I’ve embedded the deck below. I liked the part about the unofficial team wallpaper the most; team/company culture and morale is an often overlooked aspect by founders as they rush to get their product out of the door. Darius also talked briefly about his angel investing activities and his ongoing efforts to learn through his involvement with Bansea and Neoteny Labs (investor in our fund).

A reporter from MyPaper was also with us, taking photographs and jotting down notes. I think there will be a feature article by them on Startup Roots soon.

Startup Roots Singapore's inaugural fellows posing for MyPaper

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.