More Explorations into the Startup Culture by Frontier Team


As a part of our continuous learning on the ‘startup scene’ two of us from Frontier visited Singapore in August 2014. Among the few events we selected to attend was the ‘Start up Grind Singapore’ which gave us insights into some real life experiences faced by entrepreneurs in startup ventures.

The Start Up Grind event series was initiated in April 2012 by Son Le Thanh, a professional software developer with more than 10 years experience in the field of IT. Son launched this event series, which gathers a consistent crowd, to share startup experiences and foster new networks. The event we went to in August was attended by many who shared the same passion and interest in pursuing their innovative ideas into startup businesses and faced similar problems.

This time the event was hosted by Julian Lee, CEO and Founder of Ambi Labs. Ambi Climate is the flagship product of Ambi Labs, and it was the winner at Echelon Hong Kong Satellite 2014.  Ambi Climate is a smart air-conditioning system that aims to deliver personalized indoor comfort through the smart phone.

Lee in his insightful discussion stressed on the fact that when going forward with a new idea one must always keep in mind that original ideas have to and will keep on changing. Hanging on to the original ideas may sometimes not push a business forward. Furthermore, the best ideas don’t always seem realistic at first. Careful molding and refining it to see what people actually like will drive the idea to a success. This we found was very much in line with what we experience inside the startup culture at Frontier, where we too follow a pattern of constantly changing and updating of our strategies in the direction of the client requirements.

Lee emphasized on the use of a lean startup structure to support the constantly changing focus and warned to avoid too much investment in a particular direction or decision and ensure flexibility among the team.

Accordingly one of the important things we took out of Lee’s discussion was the importance of having a solid team for a startup. He stated that it was normal to experience phases equivalent to the early stages of a married life where hardships are experiences that help match the expectations of the parties involved.

He also talked of how pricing for a startup should always start from the point of what the customer perceives the cost of the service is rather than from our internal point of cost. Another point was the importance of first creating a good online presence before focusing on promoting the product individually from one client to another. . The event was conducted in a way which allowed us as the participants an opportunity to talk and network with individuals who inspired us with insights that we could relate to.

Another opportunity we got during our short stay in Singapore was to explore ‘Block 71’, a renowned area in the Ayer Rajah industrial estate. This is an initiative by the Singapore government to foster startup businesses. Currently, the area operates with close to 250 startups and participants got an opportunity to see first-hand how a few of them worked.

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