It’s not the pitch or the plan, it’s you

It’s not the pitch or the plan, it’s you

By Christopher Quek When asked “What is first thing that you consider before making an investment in a tech startup?”, many seed investors, including myself, give the cliché line “It is the entrepreneur.”, but it is unfortunately the truth. It is a privilege to talk to over 450 startups in 1-1 free advisories at AGA and hearing another 100 or so who sought seed funding with Tri5 Ventures. But honestly, I sometimes dread hearing the same old drone of pitching by entrepreneurs with the same verticals, similar ideas, and go-to-market plans. Don’t get…

Understanding strategies in Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Understanding strategies in Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Many I am sure are familiar with Sun Zi’s Art of War, but knowing the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (RTK) is actually another great era of excellent military strategies and negotiations that we can all learn from. It is a very deep long novel set in one of historical China’s turbulent times at the end of the Han dynasty (280 AD). RTK has been galvanised into PC and console games by Koei and television drama series produced. Many are also familiar with the famous “Red Cliff” movie. At that time, China had many warring parties, of…

Start right with your business partners – the pre-nuptial way

Start right with your business partners – the pre-nuptial way

By Christopher Quek I have seen the fall of startups caused by many reasons, one of which is the relationship of the founders/ business partners. Startups are formed by many types of founders. I have the general one where good friends from army, school, previous workplaces or childhood friends coming together. I also met founders where a senior mature experienced founder will have two young passionate energetic co-founders, to an exotic mix of a Hong Kong, Taiwanese and Singapore mix, or a Singaporean, French and American combination, to an Australian and…

Marketing lessons from the durian trade

Marketing lessons from the durian trade

By Christopher Quek Ahh.. durian… the lovely King of Fruits, according to South East Asians. Here in Singapore, durians are the rage. Mostly imported from neighbouring Malaysia, it has become a cultural activity to eat and buy a durian anywhere from US$5 to as expensive as US$30. This year, there was a bumper harvest and coupled with the Ramadan season in Malaysia, many durians came travelling to Singapore, in hope of getting eaten by food connoisseurs. With so many hybrids of durians, to the many famed places in Singapore selling them, it has gone…

These signs mean it’s time to let go of your startup (but moving on is never easy)

These signs mean it’s time to let go of your startup (but moving on is never easy)

“Hey John, it is good seeing you on social media and how your company X has progressed thus far these few months,” I said encouragingly during a regular meetup with an entrepreneur I had mentored for a year. John (not his real name) had posted about the developments of his company on social media and had recently raised a good seed round with quality VCs. “Yes, but I have something more exciting for you,” he smiled. “I got a new idea which I am thinking of starting off with some…

Mom, I’m going to be an entrepreneur

Mom, I’m going to be an entrepreneur

By Christopher Quek “You want to start your own business? Why are you so stupid?” cried Joe’s mother. It was five years ago when I remembered hearing the personal story of an entrepreneur during my pro-bono mentoring days at Angels Gate Advisory (AGA). Joe (not his real name), was then a recent graduate at a local Singapore university. “But mom, this is really what I want to do. I can make a change in people’s lives with my business,” pleaded Joe. His mother, who was a saleslady selling traditional medical products for…