Startup Roots Graduation & Future Plans

Tonight was graduation night for our inaugural Startup Roots Singapore Summer Fellows.  Our fellows got up in front of the community and shared what they learnt and accomplished over the past 10 weeks.  It was very gratifying to know that they all benefited from the fellowship in ways that weren’t obvious to us when Derrick, Zaizhuang and I first started on this journey.


Zaizhuang gives Anuj some presentation pointers at the last minute.

Anuj contrasted his previous internship experience at Paypal – where he wasn’t given anything meaningful to work on – with his Chalkboard experience, which gave him tremendous control, freedom and challenge on his product.  Laurence showed off a little in typical harmless geeky fashion as he described how quickly he tackled the initial problems tossed at him, before elaborating on the database scaling issues he had to overcome while working on Chalkboard’s web widget.  Satyam talked about his introduction to the world of agile development, Rails and test-driven development and gave a blow-by-blow account of the battles he waged in trying to architect and build a payment system that interfaces with Paypal from scratch.  Sharon wrapped up the sharing session with how she finally had the courage to get out of the closet and walk through the door of entrepreneurship thanks to her fellowship experiences, figured out her niche as a product + hustler + distribution type of startup gal, and is now working on a startup idea with a co-founder she found along the way.  Unfortunately, Adrian fell ill in the morning and couldn’t share about his experiences at ViKi.  Divy is in Israel.

Bernard Leong (lower right) shared what he learnt from working with his 2 fellows.

I’d like to thank Pivotal Labs Singapore, for hosting our session at their new office at Craig Road, and for sponsoring dinner.  Carl, you rock.

The Next Phase

Although our fellows’ 10-week stints are now over, we still plan to hold Startup Roots Speaker Series as and when interesting speakers pass our way, so stay tuned!  I’ve also embedded the latest iteration of our slide deck, which I’m using to fund raise for the next phase of Startup Roots Singapore.  This is a slightly tweaked version of the deck I presented at our 7th Speaker Series last week.  I think I’ve gotten some momentum on the fundraising front, and will report back with more good news, hopefully in the near future.  We haven’t decided when our next intake will be yet; the earliest might be Jan/Feb ’12, or we might wait until the summer of 2012, around May or June; how soon we roll again will depend on progress on the fundraising front.

Of course, we’re also happy to take comments and suggestions on how we might improve the model further.

In Other News…

We spent S$100.00 on one round of celebratory drinks after the session, and our cash balance stands at S$693.40.  We’re setting aside S$350 for incorporation of our legal entity, with the balance to be used to fund Startup Roots Singapore t-shirts which we’ll in turn sell at future Speaker Series, so watch out for those as well.  Prices for the t-shirts have yet to be confirmed, but I’m sure we’ll be reasonable.

Startup Roots SG T-shirt design, available in S/M/L/XL, straight-cut or baby-doll!

Celebratory drinks at The Pigeonhole at the end.

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+.