Last time our editor team has chance to interview Angel Investor, this time we come to interview the investor under a Venture Capital company, with Khun Suwida Gingmuanggou, Managing Director of Expara IDM Ventures.
thumbsup:? Please introduce Expara company and how you support Startup.
Suwida:? Expara is an incubator in Singapore supporting Startup who has idea but lack of someone to take care of backend.? We shall provide with advice on strategy, similar to a mentor giving consultative advices on the business at its Early Stage with funds during Seed Investment.
But at the Later Stage means bigger when the enterprise becomes more interesting and has revenue, then we shall forward it to another funds belongs to lecturer Douglas Abrams (a lecturer at Sasin and CEO of Expara).
Coming back to Expara itself, as Singapore government has keen interest to support in providing quite a big sum of capital on this and created a project called i.JAM choosing Incubator with ready capital to join the government?s ones, by investing with a smaller portion than the government, but will assist Startup with advices on various topics; including strategy, opportunity, networking etc.? Expara will screen whether the Startup has the innovative product and with growing trend, or not, prior to being approved by the government for funds support.
Expara jointly worked with Singapore government in i.JAM since 2007.? The 1st phase has already fulfilled that we have 14 Startup companies with good output with initial capital of 55,000 Singapore Dollars.? The 2nd phase the funds becomes higher starts with 250,000 Singapore Dollars while the system remains the same, as Startup comes to Incubator like us with ideas.? If we can see its capability to grow, then forward to Singapore government for approvals.? They have approximate 3 experts with unanimously pass as approvals.? The capital receiving is not a huge sum but with a target of achievement specified in the Business Plan, it can be drawn upon achievement being fulfilled.? During this period a Networking Event will be organized and it is the regulation that Startup must participate in these events which are the good mechanism to let the entrepreneurs meet investors and create the business with new opportunities.
thumbsup:? Which business model of Startup that is of Expara?s interest?
Suwida:? Will be the group of Interactive Digital Media, for example online business, applications, e-commerce, software and games etc.? We provide opportunity for entrepreneurs in the region of Southeast Asia to reach the sources of capital.? Besides, we also look at the group of Bio Technology too.
thumbsup:? Also interest in B2B business or not?
Suwida:? We do not specify B2C only.? We shall look mainly what is your innovation, what solution you are doing for the clients, for example making the work easier, can sell faster, as long as it can answer the question and solve the problem, we also have interest even though it is a B2B.
thumbsup:? So far which Thai Startup has already been supported?
Suwida:? Yes, the Startup grows from Thailand, but I beg not to mention name here.? It is one of our prominent stars with efficiency, already came and joined with us, start doing main business in Singapore.
thumbsup:? How do you look Exit Strategy model of Startup in Asian zone?
Suwida:? Possibly already either offering IPO or being acquisitioned.? But it must be acknowledged that many systems in Asian zone are not yet ready like in USA.? We counted it as stage of being alerted; including Chinese government and Singapore still also need a rather long period before seeing several Startup gradually grow up to that similar level.
thumbsup:? Which capability you may kindly advise Thai Startup to further improve?
Suwida:? In fact our technical capability is not inferior to any nation but rather lack of understanding in doing business, like do not realize other available capital apart from bank or the persons we acquainted.? As noticed, we lack courage to perform and courage to accept criticism, in fact quite often that criticism is beneficial to improve our work.
Besides, we should be trained to look at the overall view, the regional market.? Startups in our neighboring countries already think regional not only our domestic market.
thumbsup:? Why is Startup Ecosystem in our country thought as not ready?
Suwida:? We still lack coordination between our government and private sectors.? It means our government sector should support more than this like several of our neighboring countries are doing their utmost to create in Malaysia and Indonesia.? Besides, the educational institutions should play a more important role in creating knowledge and understanding, should arrange the education in creating entrepreneurs in the curriculum.
thumbsup:? If the Startup is interested to present a project to Expara, what should they do?
Suwida:? Contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org.? The things to be prepared are Power Point presenting the output consists of what Product, root of the product, what innovation, who are your customers, how to solve the customer?s problems at which point, also adding market information, the amount of required capital.? The important thing that cannot be missed is who are in your team with or without specific experience in this line.? In the point of view of Venture Capitalists actually the investment is on persons, namely the entrepreneurs themselves.? Financial Projection for 4-5 years is nearly unnecessary in the stage of Incubation.? Having informed that VC will not look the same in each stage.
One more point that we would like to inform and clarify with Startup that many cases very worry about and afraid to lose the ownership of their business after joining with VC.? In fact, VC will not touch the operations but watch more at the targets, with or without problems, need any help in which part or not, for example if CTO resigns anybody to replace at this moment, what profile of the person required and might assist to search for.? It may be compared that Startup and VC are similar to properly choose whom to marry with, whenever Startup wants to expand the business, requiring someone to look after and provide further support is quite common.