9 – 13 Nov
Day 1 (9 Nov)
What a blast of energy from both mentors and startups kicking start 100 hours of intense unlearning, unlocking and unleashing. See the list of 18 shortlisted startups here.
We also had a special address by Taizo-son, sharing his intentions for Mistletoe and AUDACITY.
“Failure is an important necessary process.”
“I believe that this place (Vivita) as a motto is a quote by Alan Kay – “Best way to invent the future is to invent it.”
“Children are not affected by legacy or common senses – they provide crazy ideas that inspires adults. If you are struggling with new ideas, get advice from kids!”Taizo-son
…. and a sharing session of our Unlearn. Unlock. Unleash. philosophy by Atsushi, Jeremy and Yang En.
“Unlearning = putting aside conventional wisdom to craft our own thoughts. Moving away from tried and tested methods.”
“Passion is key part to unleashing. It is unlocking is changing structure. Having that drive to take it forward and unleashing innovation.”Yang En
“Unlocking is about picking it up and unlearning very quickly so that you can unwind, find firm ground to reset and then progress.”
“At Audacity, we focus on what we feel / gut feel. It is a skill that you can fine tune, nurture and grow – which ultimately it may be stronger than logic.”Jeremy
“When we talk about alternative city design, we think about buildings, cars, and roads. The city of 100 years ago were buildings, cars and roads. Back then, motorisation/transport were innovations. Creating a city for workers was also an innovation (although more behind the scene of cities).
Today, it’s still quite the same – cars, buildings and roads. But in another 100 years, would cities look the same? Should it look the same? If we are talking about sustainability and we are faced with congestion, pollution, environmental degradation, depression, loss of community and inequality, it doesn’t feel right to be stick to the status quo to fix our environment. So we need to redesign the city of zero scratch.
An important paradigm shift of thinking needs to take place. Currently, we are technology-centric, and optimised for productivity and efficiency but the alternative paradigm looks at humanity centric design, optimised for environment and other living things… but we can’t go back to 100 years so we turn to technology to help us solve these issues.”
“To achieve balance between automation and human autonomy, a holistic approach is required.”Atsushi
To sum it up, Human Autonomy is an important factor in changing the world – and how the mind is at its best when one does not feel trapped or constrained – but having free will to maximise human capital instead of succumbing to a dystopian big brother future that we are kind of already in.
Imagine if we are able to apply these visionary thinking of empowerment to what we do, what will we be able to achieve as a society?
Day 2 (10 Nov)
Two days down, three more to go!
Today was an important day for the AUDACITY movement because it was our chance to help participating startups understand why we are aiming for a Moonshot: Permacolony. I think we also managed to get some highly engaging roundtables to discuss very issues to solve as a startup (Thank you for being patient with us, despite some tech difficulties!)
AUDACIOUS visions on Food, Shelter, Energy/Resources, Production, Work/Autonomy and Wellbeing.
“We see many benefits to having an autonomous food system. The community can be self-sufficient, with fresh produce without much loss of nutrients. Carbon emissions are reduced drastically with a shorter supply chain. And there is the ability to plough back resources back into the system, to achieve a closed-loop food system that can continue to flourish for the years to come.”Jayden, SLICE Farm-2-Fork Robocafe (Food)
“Shelter and living cannot be understood in isolation from the rest of the world that holds and surrounds us. The idea that we create shelter to protect us from the wild is one that we have to evolve past. In reality, we use our homes to shape our lives, beyond protection, it gives us meaning. Breaking away from an extractive relationship with nature, it’s time that we live while being part of the force that is regenerating the world and respecting it.”Shu Rui, Movable Village (Shelter)
“We are building next gen civilisation kits that are modular and self-sufficient… generative vs extractive… with a conscious direction towards innovative use of resources… and application of systems thinking to consider all the users of that space.”Rithika, Project SHEA (Systems)
“The real threat of a society without DIY culture is one where we don’t take action and just look to others to solve our problems and we will live in someone else’s future. If we can make the DIY culture pervasive and common will unlock all of this potential energy – imagine each human as a node in a global human network. and imagine all of that potential energy coming online as this participatory DIY culture spreads.”Shane Kelly, Microfactory (Production)
“We would like to focus on areas that are left behind by the current way of doing things, and then we can apply alternative models to empower more communities to leverage on technology to create an inclusive, safe and enjoyable working environment.”
“The intention when deploying robotics or any AI is important. Right now, a lot of its adoption was driven by increasing productivity, cutting cost of labour. If the intention of adopting technology is to replace humans for greater productivity output then this dilemma will always persist.”Shuenhwee, DeMineCraft (Work/Autonomy)
“…the easiest way to understand the concept of flourishing is looking within yourself. What is your gut feel? What do you value as an individual? What drives you? Understanding the complexities of our mind and biosignals gives us better insight into how we are so that we can take better charge in enhancing the way we live and impact others. Imagine if we are able to apply this thinking of empowerment to the wellbeing of our minds and bodies, what will we be able to achieve as a society?”Jan, Project Flourish (Wellbeing)
Masterclass with Joanna Grudzinska:
Four pillars of digital sales funnel strategy
“Digital marketing strategy is not your best choice, neither the fastest track to growth, but you’ll all need it at some point.”Joanna Grudzinska
PERSONA – Going to where your users are
It is more effective to go where your users are, than to try to get the users to come to where you are (your website/platform)
USP / Core Messaging
Talk about the benefits people will receive from your product/service and the pain points that your product can solve NOT the features – you are in the business of solving problems not making money or making tech.
What do you need to grow your online business?
- Measurable business goal
How many new users, active users and clients you need to acquire on a monthly basis? Is revenue a better goal? (Tip: Revenue is a good metric but you need more clarification!)
- Clear and controllable client acquisition process Digital Sales Funnel Marketing
💡 Present the offer only after you have built trust and likeability
💡 You should already know what are the potential objections that your persona might have
💡 Maximise on the current customers that you already have (customer LTV)
Things you need to review before you build your own funnel:
✅ Market Sophistication (5 levels of market sophistication – how “busy” is your market?) Catering your strategy depending on how your market looks like, are there many players in the market that desensitise the consumers?
✅ Buyer Persona – know your audience (what problems they have, what do they stand in life for, and what do they aspire to be? What are their fears? What are their pain points?)
✅ Talk to people – those who have bought from you once, never brought from you and also your avid fans!
You need a marketing team if you no longer can cope maybe due to time or lack of competency. Get people who are responsible for the metrics but ownership of growth should stay at top level of the company.
Good questions asked!
How do you define the persona if it is B2B?
Think of the people who are involved in the decision-making process, reach the decision-maker. Understand his or her motivation, KPIs. You need content that can speak to the decision-maker (the person who need to solve a problem, deliver a KPI)
Investors are rushing me to start selling via platforms like kickstarter first. Is it a good move?
Work on the messaging to show that the product is worth waiting for! This is drawing from an experience buying a kickstarter product.
Day 3 (11 Nov)
Wow. What a day of deep learning and exchange, one after the other. I think the vibe of potential permacolonists is starting to take shape too – casual, thoughtful, serious and fun all at the same time.
🙌 Kudos 🙌 to the teams who are juggling 1:1s with mentors while managing to sit through all the content prepared today. My cognitive load is on overdrive; can’t beat those having a sleepover under the desk 😅. Also 🤜🤛 mad respect to some founders and Salto Network team for keeping the energy despite being online since 3 am!
Fireside 1: Jeremy Sim, Creative Director at Mistletoe Singapore chats with UNDP Special Advisor, Calum Handforth on impact startups and Singapore as an Impact Hub for Change.
- Singapore’s Smart City Project bore fruits when COVID hit. Coupled with a 30 by 30 commitment for food security and openness to less conventional ways of financing, gave the city state significance as a choice for UNDP’s Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development (GCTISD)
- Inclusion runs through all priorities UNDP is trying to solve especially in the last mile (i.e. Loon – bringing connectivity to last mile rural villages)
- When you are in absolute darkness, there could be absolute innovation
- Leadership, connectivity and partnership are three low hanging fruits that could send a trickling effect to help make impact
- Have patience, expect to iterate 100 times, show measurable impact and understand the environment you are in
It is wonderful to be able to work in development and travelling to all these places but you also see the worst of humanity, consequences of decisions – it’s quite hard to seek the positive. What keeps me positive taking out Covid-19 is that we have made enormous changes in downward trends of poverty, better access to innovation, improvements in quality of life, longer life spans; We also saw polio eradicated by humanity – these massive trends are future positive and it keeps me going – if we can roll back in poverty levels – keep on that path and double down to continue the positive trend.Calum Handforth, UNDP
All cities are smart cities – check out this paper on smart city archetypes
Masterclass 1: Sandar Saas, Strategy & Growth at Red Bull Media House gave a KILLER PITCH on “How to make a killer pitch video.”
- STORY – Keep it simple
- SHOW – Human connection, visible graphs with numbers viewable on mobile, maintain eye contact at eye level, check your video background!
- SOUND – Mission critical. “Bad video is forgivable but audio is not!”
- LIGHTS – It will make or break your image
Q: Killer pitch is always something one envisions to master the art. What’s your tip to overcome anxiety or overdo video pitch to perfection?
A: Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Get comfortable with the lens – build relationship with the camera.
A: Have key principles structured – so you know which point leads to the next and where you are going to end up then end with a bang. Write out what you’d like to say, but no need to follow the script word by word.
Q: What is the No.1 thing to focus on in a 3 min pitch video?
A: Focus on your story. What will make one stop and listen to you? Keeping it simple such that your granny understands, kids understand that how they can leave with something (educate).
Q: How much emotion should I put in what I say? What if I am boring?
A: I don’t think anyone is boring with friends. What is your authentic self? You don’t have to be like another person? Who you are most comfortable will enable you to be human? Unleash that human side of you – not that refined side of you – show your energy.
Q: How do you modulate your voice even though I am intentionally smiling when speaking?
A: As long as it is who you are and it helps tell ur story and helps you connect with audience, then the modulation is less important. Don’t push it, just be yourself and don’t play it down.
There is some magic in having a level of roughness that people enjoy. It shows that there is a human elements which one can resonate, connect and be at the same level. Professional tech/tools is great but the most important is to build that connection – the story.Sander Saars, Redbull
Fireside 2: Atsushi Taira, Managing Director at Mistletoe Singapore held space for a deeply inspiring insight into Nobu Okada’s Astroscale – The SPACE SWEEPERS.
In 2008 when Space X became the first private company to announce the launch of a rocket into space, I remembered being so mad that I called a friend to express my concerns for how we are irresponsibly going to pollute space after polluting earth. A few years later, she sends me a link about Astroscale. Fast forward to a decade, here I am starstruck and writing this with gratitude for having the privilege to sit in and listen to a hero.
Okada-san’s story is simple but held great resonance to many members in the community because he is the epitome of what entrepreneurs needs to have – determination. He had no engineering background, was an outsider of the space community, and neither a billionaire… all he had was a believe in an idea, sincerity, a ticket to a space conference and CD-ROM of 300 over papers about space tech so that he could familiarize himself with the lexicons and jargon that would put him on the same conversational level with the professors.
- Keep capital control to remain in charge of your idea
- Understand your team’s pain points to build a good team
- Support from loved one is important
This is one moonshot startup to look out for in the very near future.
Panel 1: Jeremy and a panel of investors in SEA shared their perspectives on Southeast Asia’s Golden Age
- JP Lee – CEO and Managing Partner at SoftBank Ventures Asia
- Dr Dalal Alghawas – Program Director at Big Idea Ventures
- Shirley Crystal – Founding Partner at Golden Equator
- Atsushi Taira – Managing Director at Mistletoe Singapore
KEY QUESTIONS: ASKED & ANSWERED
What do you see as leapfrogging opportunities in SEA?
JP: Combining tech innovations + evolution of society.
COVID-19 has changed the way people bank and shop. Education – we are still teaching like the 18th century. Kids can learn anything online but the fundamental education structure hasn’t changed – there is opportunity to build a platform to connect the new generation.
What is truly innovative in Food Tech now?
DA: Big news for FMCG – spending power in SEA is going to increase exponentially with two thirds of middle class living in SEA in 2030.
Food tech is still new – success this year is relatively outstanding with Green Monday Holdings raising US$70 million – the largest raise yet. Locally, Shiok Meats just raised Series A and “slated to operate the first fully-functioning commercial pilot plant for cell-based crustacean production”.
With regulatory foundations and technology in place, coupled with food security and sufficiency goals backed by the Singapore government, opportunity is aplenty here. Despite the impact of trade wars, meat demand is predicted to increase exponentially which also means a strain on supply chain especially soy (being a popular ingredient in alternative proteins).
What potential leapfrog opportunities do you see in emerging markets?
SC: The disappointment in the entire ecosystem comes from the lack of exits in SEA companies. Exits are important because it encourages both inventors and entrepreneurs to enter the ecosystem which in turn provides more options and jobs in the VC scene. With the change in global leadership however, there might be a flow of technologies form west to east and for countries who have never experienced new tech, is a leapfrog itself in embracing new tech in these new markets.
What is your definition of success?
JP: Consistency, Persistency and Network. Sheer determination. I did not go to Stanford or Harvard but I kept talking about the software I developed and was eventually introduced to the right people.
DA: Always keep your eye open for hints and take the courage to be bold.
SC: Recognise that different parts of our journey is a success. Reminding myself why I left a cushy job to be an entrepreneur and creator of positive impact on business and people.
Last but not least for Day 3…
Masterclass 2: Navigating IP rights and regulations in Singapore with Fu Zhikang – IP Strategist at IPOS International
Understanding how you can use various IP tools to your advantage early in the game only serves to your advantage as a startup founder – especially if you are creating a new product, process or design. However it may not be clear what kind of assets are registrable or non-registrable.
Many businesses failed to make connection between IP and business so they are open to a lot of business risk.
Identify you key intangible assets
In 1975, 17% of intangible assets were considered to have corporate value. Today, it is 90%.
How does your IA affect your business?
Does it identify your goods and services? Is a unique design feature? Is it a process that is difficult to replicate?
💡 Try not to leave things to a joint ownership as it can complicate commercialisation path downstream.
To learn more about building a strong brand and unlocking financial potential, IPOS has a series of business guides to help startups.
Good luck and secure your 20-year monopoly!
Day 4 (12 Nov)
It is a day before DEMO DAY when startups will present their final pitches live and we will announce category favourites, as well as the two startups who will be fast tracked to SLINGSHOT Top 100 shortlist.
As founders and their teams get their final demo day training and roundtables on branding and product development, we had the honour of having Andreas Raptopoulos of Matternet bestow some wisdom on being a people-founder, and Lynette Tan of Enterprise Singapore (ESG) to shed some light on grants available for launching a startup from Singapore.
🔥 Fireside Chat with Andreas – a renaissance man with a kind ❤️
The heartwarming conversation between Jeremy, Shan and Andreas revealed the kind of traits that all founders could strive to have.
Andreas Raptopoulos is the Founder & CEO of Matternet – a drone logistic network builder with a mission to transport goods on demand where in ways where roads can’t in space, time and energy.
His favourite day is Saturday and prefers living in the city over the countryside would choose teleportation as his super power.
Shan: “But why?! Won’t take make your innovation obsolete?” Andreas: “We’ll we are doing what we do with drones because we have not figured out teleportation yet!”
Andreas comes from a place of long past but is always dreaming of the future. Aside from being trained as a mechanical and aeronautical engineer (which in hindsight connected the dots to what he is doing today), one thing he knew that he always wanted to be was an inventor. “I wanted to know how things work and put that knowledge into a product.”
Shan: “Why the name Matternet?”
Andreas: “The name comes from what we create – a network for matter. Instead of sending bytes like the internet, we are sending things (matter) – so a network for matter.”
Shan: “Ah… makes sense… What are three most important traits you see in a founder?”
Andreas: “Imagination, courage and resilience.”
Shan: “What is one book you think every founder should read?”
Andreas: “Everyone should read poetry. A personal favourite is ITHAKA.”
ITHAKA: A POEM REMINDS US THAT THE JOURNEY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE DESTINATION
Ithaka As you set out for Ithaka hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians, Cyclops, angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them: you’ll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body. Laistrygonians, Cyclops, wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you. Hope your road is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when, with what pleasure, what joy, you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time; may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind— as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities to learn and go on learning from their scholars. Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you’re destined for. But don’t hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you’re old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn’t have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
Shan: “Any favourite quotes?”
Andreas: “Yes actually! Both by Socrates – he is one man I would really wish to meet and have a discussion with.”
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
“To know yourself, think for yourself.”Socrates
Andreas also revealed to be a true people-person who speaks dearly about his team and his concern for their welfare. Having a drone company that provides contactless delivery to the vulnerable is one thing but acting on his understanding of the fundamentals of society in times of crisis and seeking to protect those who needed help most makes him even more real.
Shan: “What are some of the key challenges operating a startup during the pandemic?”
Andreas: “The psychology of startups completely changes. You don’t know the realities of what your team is going through if you don’t see them. A lot of people who could work from home stopped coming to work. The social fabric was completely removed. Understanding how to maintain the highest level of mental health, and being a startup, it knowing how do you push and develop beyond what is expected of a reasonable outcome.”
Andreas isn’t shy about what he believes in and the stories he shared were of determination. Whether it is the desire to address a problem or reimagining a conventional space, it is the ability to solve today’s problems and combining his passion for tech and humanitarian work that drives him.
It makes sense to me to build something is one’s life that will be for the next generation. It is okay if it takes 10-15 years to materialise because it could be the foundation for the next few years to come.Andreas Raptopoulos
Leveraging on 🇸🇬 Singapore 🇸🇬 as a Springboard to Southeast Asia w/ Lynette Tan from ESG
SLINGSHOT 2020 is an anchor event of SWITCH. Organised by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), it is the largest startup pitching festival in Singapore and its platform is primarily used to bring in overseas startups. ESG does not take equity as its main focus is to build a favourable investor and entrepreneurial environment. ESG sees startups as champions of the economy and serves to catalyse capital between startups and investors, by supporting co-funding between the private and public sector.
KEY QUESTIONS: ASKED & ANSWERED
Q: To avail opportunities like Startup Equity Fund, does the parent company need to be incorporated in SIngapore?
A: Typically we look at it from the perspective of shareholding. If you are able to meet 30% citizen/PR shareholders, you would be eligible for most of the schemes.
Q: Besides Slingshot, are there any events supported by ESG that early-startups / innovators can join to gain more exposure/network?
There are multiple community-based events. One of the more frequently occuring event is Deal Fridays – an industry/sector focused meet-up that is curated to ensure best quality exchange with investors and startups.
Q: How does ESG evaluate the eligibility of startups who qualify for grants?
A: There is an evaluation criteria unqiue to each type of grant but generally speaking if you have an international traction/record, or a unique IP, you are generally on a good track. Even if its a nascent idea there is a grant for that too.
Did you know
💡 Singapore is ranked second in the world and top in Asia for having the best IP protection in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2019?
Day 5 (13 Nov)
DEMO DAY DONE WELL
In 100 hours, all 18 startups from 9 countries had face time with 60+ mentors, investors and speakers. Founders of participating startups shared notable improvements whether it was in their pitches, finding a key area to solve or in their strategic next steps.
Most importantly as well, was the increased energy and genuine representation felt of their intentions to change the world. With these startups representing at least one of the 6 key aspects (Food, Shelter, Energy, Production, Automation and Wellbeing) on board, we are one tiny step toward a giant leap in building by 2025, our first ever, 100% self-sustainable Permacolony empowered by technology. Watch the recorded demo day:
Summary of recognitions:
*fast forwarded to SLINGSHOT SINGAPORE FINAL PITCHING SESSIONS 7-11 DEC 2020
most audacious startups – biggest potential impact
BEST INVESTMENT PROSPECTS
MOST HELPFUL FOUNDER
MOST KICKASS MENTORS
- Joanna Grudzinska
- Yang En Tan
- Atsushi Taira
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