Singapore’s startup ecosystem is alive and kicking. According to Tech in Asia’s1 recent findings, ecommerce and transportation verticals like Lazada.sg and Grab are topping the funding list, garnering US$686 million and US$680 million respectively after receiving sizable investments throughout 2015.
In spite of this, the city-state does present a unique set of challenges to nascent enterprises attempting to break into a saturated and competitive market. Government agencies, like SPRING Singapore, do extend grants and equity investment support but only if startups satisfy their evaluation criteria.
Canon chats with Raniel Lee, Founder and CEO of Rightspot2, to gain insight into Singapore’s startup environment as well as the challenges faced by the resolute 24 year-old entrepreneur when he was developing the job-matching platform.
“I found work in an events management company once, via a job agency. After realising I could earn more if I had approached the company directly, I decided to do something to remove this third-party involvement,” says the Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) Business Informatics graduate determined to streamline the hiring process.
Rightspot was inaugurated last year together with co-founders, Daryl Sim and Vignesh Manu, whom Raniel met during his National Service. Incubating at NYP, Rightspot’s primary aim is to remove redundancies that occur during recruitment. The portal is also able to find the most compatible fit for both employers and jobseekers. Coincidentally, all three founding members are alumni of NYP.
Raniel and team didn’t have it easy at the onset. Like many developing ventures, attracting investors as well as proving Rightspot’s efficacy to potential users and employers were a considerable challenge. Fortunately for them, they received timely financial assistance from an angel investor to accelerate their business plans with S$300,000 raised to date.
The young entrepreneurs hit multiple snags while developing Rightspot’s user interface and its mobile application. “Given our limited resources then, it took all we had to fix the relevant bugs to ensure the system is operational,” adds Raniel with a pensive smile. What’s important, in his opinion, is for startups to work closely with vendors and clients, listen to their feedback, and work towards a viable solution.
How can local startups overcome the odds then? “Many founders here are unwilling to partner similar ventures to propel their businesses forward. I think that is a defensive outlook. Rather than trying to go to market alone, creating a new solution with each other’s strengths is decidedly vital to topping the game,” he asserts.
Scalable capabilities in office equipment is another area often overlooked by new businesses. “I recall a time when we needed to print a large number of contracts and invoices at the office. So we lugged a printer from home only to exceed the print limit before we are done,” chimes Raniel with a hearty chuckle.
When funds are a precious resource, and productivity is not to be compromised, it is critical for startups to procure the right equipment as demands will undoubtedly increase with time. Armed with a duty cycle of 30,000 pages per month, the Canon MAXIFY MB53703 , for example, offers a wholesome 50 percent savings on cost-per-page. The affordable inkjet printer is likewise equipped to deliver fast double-sided scans which gives businesses a vital edge in office productivity.
“Don’t look for a solution which only caters to your current needs. Plan ahead and envision how your workload and requirements will grow, then select one which has a scalable potential to match,” advises Raniel.