News

27Aug 2014

Startup Incubator ‘Pays It Forward’ To Local Startup Community

Devoted to changing the entrepreneurial culture from ground-up

 Resize AGA_2From Left: Ko Tze-Shen, Co-founder and Resident Mentor of Angels Gate Advisory; Arvind Khattar, Co-founder of Angels Gate Advisory, and Christopher Quek, Director and Resident Mentor of Angels Gate Advisory.

Singapore – August 27, 2014 – Angels Gate Advisory (AGA), a Singapore-based startup incubator, is aggressively pushing its mission to ‘pay it forward’, in hopes to change the local entrepreneurial culture. Originating from the Angel’s Gate media platform that gave enterprisers the chance to pitch their dream business ideas to some of Asia’s most successful investors, AGA was founded a little over two years ago by a team of Singaporean businessmen and backed by Khattar Holdings. The incubator has now advised and mentored over 50 startups since 2013.

Having just celebrated their second year, they aim to ‘pay it forward’ by providing free advisory and guidance services for Singapore startups from any industry, as well as free incubation space. While it is also an appointed iJAM incubator that have access to a SME-supporting government grants, it does not ask for equity in exchange for government grants, which would be a refreshing change from the norm.

“If we contribute and invest time and energy freely into startups,” says Christopher Quek, Director and Resident Mentor of Angels Gate Advisory. “When they grow and become profitable, they too will contribute and invest time and energy into the next generation. We are community driven. Iron sharpens iron.”

Singapore is slowly growing to be considered the Silicon Valley of Asia. According to data from Hong Kong-based Asian Venture Capital Journal, venture capital invested in Singaporean tech firms by funds in 2013 totaled $1.71 billion, bringing local investments ahead of big players such as Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong. However, with this exponential growth of startups in Singapore comes the darker side of entrepreneurship, with problems such as predatory incubation by inexperienced startups, and abuse of government grants fostering a dangerous handout culture.

This is where Angels Gate Advisory comes in. With the right expertise stemming from a team of local businessmen from various backgrounds, they would successfully be able to advise and lead new entrants with the knowledge that only experienced business-people will know. “We realised that many startups lack the ability to grow to become better companies due to lack of experience,” Says Ko Tze-Shen, Co-founder and Resident Mentor of Angels Gate Advisory. “Our vision, ‘Entrepreneurs Building Entrepreneurs’, support Singaporean startups by imparting our knowledge and wide range of experiences to the next generation of business people.”

Notable Companies supported by AGA include:

  • KungfuMath.sg: founded by Mr Derrick Koh and his teacher Ms Foo P.C., and specializing in the development of educational gaming technology and content. Their success has led to a Thai international school adopting its e-learning portal.
  • Loco: Aims to be a search engine on the go. As wearables become a thing of the present, Loco will provide information that is based on real-time geolocation. Loco is currently in talks with a corporate investor seeking to integrate Loco’s technology.
  • Taste Genome: pioneering the full-scale application of big data analytics to recognize and understand everyone’s taste profile. Their analytical system aims revolutionize the entire food industry (from manufacturers to chefs) by providing a superior method in understanding and predicting trends that are occurring in their markets.

“AGA was formed to help guide and nurture early stage start-ups. We have quite a way to go to a fully matured and developed ecosystem but we have seen some very encouraging signs. We’re confident we can get there,” says Arvind Khattar, Co-Founder of Angel’s Gate Advisory.

About Angel’s Gate Advisory

Angel’s Gate Advisory (“AGA”) is the sole appointed advisory managing the investment and seed incubation of companies originating from the Angels Gate platform. The mentors are Singaporeans who focus on building Singapore-based startups that make a difference for Singapore and the world’s economy. Our cause is social first. We believe that only entrepreneurs can advise and nurture another entrepreneur.

AGA was founded by a team of Singaporean businessmen and backed by Khattar Holdings. Our mentors are entrepreneurs holding experiences of success and failures, and come from various backgrounds, from those who do traditional hospitality, consultancy, education, enterprise solutions, finance, F&B to those who successfully exiting their startup tech companies. These lessons are valuable and will be imparted to our incubatees.

 

 

13Jun 2014

Walkbout.sg, an excellent initiative by Kristine Lauria, saw a great deal of people coming to visit Block 71. Here at Angel’s Gate Advisory (“AGA”), we were very proud to be part of the event, having 8 of our startups spending a great time mingling with all the visitors who came and find out more about entrepreneurship.

Of all ages, shapes and sizes, we had a whopping easily over 200-300 people coming in and out the whole morning. Our founders did their demonstrations and explanations of their products, while at the same time sharing their life experiences on what it is to be an entrepreneur.

Big thanks to the team at Walkabout.sg for making it a success and all those who came by and visited us. We hope to see everyone soon again in any form of collaborations that may come!

Cheers!

AGA and our startups Chalk, UxArmy, Placematch, Blimp.dB, Jobstoday, Taste Genome Project, Zinicat and Loco.

27Aug 2013

Technology start-up’s online game Kung Fu Math, which follows the MOE syllabus, will provide 30,000 free user accounts

Singapore, 01/09/2013 – Primary School students finding it difficult to master and apply their arithmetic skills and/or lack motivation in the learning of mathematics will get to have a go at Math in a fun way, through gaming and learning.

Kung Fu Math, is embedded with exciting games, to enthuse students to deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts and sharpen their mathematics problem solving skills. It was developed by Mr Derrick Koh and curriculum designed by his former Primary School teacher, Ms Foo P.C. , an experienced educator who has held various leadership positions in the Ministry of Education and International Education Institution.

Mr Koh was an underachiever who kept failing in his mathematics when he was a student. Having benefited from Ms Foo’s guidance, his grades improved tremendously. Inspired by Ms Foo’s mentorship, he was determined to develop something to help students with the learning of Mathematics. This blossomed into a business partnership leading to the creation of Kung Fu Math.

Kung Fu Math is a mathematics e-gaming portal where children select and own one of the five avatars (characters) created. These avatars will grow in stages as children attempt to solve mathematical questions in the portal. Children will also earn virtual coins which they can use to purchase accessories to equip their avatars and unlock games where they can engage with their peers from within and beyond their schools.

Said Mr Derrick Koh, Founder and CEO of Kungfu Interactive: “The portal allows children to work on their mathematical skills, but also build good habits such as taking ownership of their own learning progress and build financial literacy through the management of virtual money. It also allows students to work on arithmetic problems at their own pace in the comfort of their own homes. To further encourage students, avatars which meet teachers’ expectations in the Math practices will be awarded virtual trophies by their school teachers.”

Kung Fu Math follows a structured format and ensures the mastery of mathematical skills in line with the latest MOE Mathematics syllabus. It also allows students to stretch the application of Mathematical and problem solving skills via its myriad question types.

A six-month trial of the gaming portal has been conducted with a Student Care Operator. Kung Fu Math will be launched in conjunction with the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) marking days with some 10 MOE Schools on board.

Teachers of participating schools are given Kung Fu Math accounts, enabling them to create online assignments of different difficulty levels to meet the diverse needs of their students. Through the portal, these teachers are also able to monitor the progress of their students as well as the frequency students log on to practise. The Kung Fu Math curriculum team, which comprises former teachers and school leaders, will also set weekly challenges for students to work on.

The game is available for free signup at www.kungfumath.sg and is limited to 30,000 user accounts for its launch.

Kung Fu Math is supported under the Interactive Digital Programme Office’s i.JAM scheme which is administered by the Media Development Authority of Singapore.

 

About Kungfu Interactive Pte Ltd

Kungfu Interactive Pte Ltd is a technological startup founded by Mr Derrick Koh and his teacher Ms Foo P.C. specialising in the development of educational gaming technology and content. Kungfu Interactive Pte Ltd has received funding from private investors and is supported under the Interactive Digital Programme Office’s iJAM scheme which is administered by the Media Development Authority of Singapore.

 

Media Contact:

Mr Derrick Koh

Founder and CEO

Kungfu Interactive Pte Ltd

[email protected]

www.kungfu-math.com

03Aug 2013

It was a heated topic of discussion in Mar 2013, where an article called “i.JAM revamp?…” from SG Entrepreneurs summed up the articles written “i.JAM needs to be sweeter” by Murli Ravi and another by Jeffrey Paine of which I had no ability to read due to a password protection.

There were many points from the articles I read, but the focus  I wish to highlight in this article is the $1,000 allowance/salary a month that the i.JAM Reload Tier 1 grant has set on the founder. If you wish to know more about the founder’s allowance, you should get a good idea after reading the articles that I have highlighted above.

AGA has to date reviewed over 90 applications since we started in July 2012 and likewise, we faced a series of challenges in obtaining Tier-1 approvals from MDA IDMPO. But to their credit, I am very proud to have worked alongside with them. Despite the lengthy and detailed submissions, the team at MDA IDMPO have not fallen short of being supportive, superbly efficient in their administration and helpful in many ways than one.

So with this understanding in place, let’s talk about the $1000 allowance.

I can confirm with you that any entrepreneur who wishes to sign up for the i.JAM Reload Tier 1 funding can get access of up to S$50,000 in claims. In this Tier-1 claim, entrepreneurs are only granted S$1000 allowance per month if they commit 100% of their time to the project. No allowance can be claimed for non full-time entrepreneurs.

It is without a doubt S$1000 can barely pay for much for an entrepreneur. With food and travel expenses alone, you can jolly well forget having any extras to survive. You might even have to cough up your own extra cash to pay for the expenses.

Does that suck? Totally! But is that part of entrepreneurship? Totally! I was reading up on the humble beginnings of www.hungrygowhere.com, where the founders literally received NO PAY for the first stage of their start-up. These 3 Singaporeans, of which one founder is an old schoolmate of mine, let passion drive them to succeed. I used to joke that when they had no money and were hungry, they had no where to go!

These entrepreneurs aren’t alone. There are endless stories of how many entrepreneurs, here in Singapore and worldwide, who had no income for many months before seeing a turnaround. I myself had that same situation when I first started out.

Entrepreneurship is not a step-up to your career. I had an applicant who came telling me that he will start his start-up if it pays him $300 more than his last job. He told me his new wife will kill him if he took any pay cut. I politely reminded him that entrepreneurship is about risk-taking and not expecting life to be rosy with a cushy increase in income. We all want to succeed in life, but entrepreneurship is high-risk, high-returns. You need to accept the high-risk reality of entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is about preparing for it and getting support, emotionally and financially. Every time before anyone who plunges into entrepreneurship, they need to ask themselves first, do they have a minimum of 6-12 months savings, as well as the support from their families and loved ones? Entrepreneurship isn’t a solo mission, but having the support of loved ones. It is a high-risk step and you need to ensure you have your pillars ready to handle the unexpected.

Tier-1 should not extend beyond 6 months. The objective of Tier-1 funding has to be re-iterated. Tier-1 funding is only meant to get the entrepreneur to develop a minimum viable product. It is not meant to be a long-term goal to give the company consistent funding. That is why there is a limit on the founder’s allowance. If you think about it, if there are 2 founders who claim S$1k each for 6 months, $12k is already paid out to the founders, which leaves very little left to do anything else. If founders focus on claiming more allowance and having little funds to do anything else, you would question the objectives of the founders.

i.JAM Reload is a grant, not investment. It is also a misconception that i.JAM Reload is used as part of the investment, ie, the total S$150k grants from MDA is included as part of the investment quantum. I can confirm that at AGA, we do not include the i.JAM Reload grant as part of the investment. This grant belongs to the start-up and we do not lay claim to it in return for shares. The only claim we make is the S$100k investment we make at Tier-2. Basing on this, entrepreneurs must remember that the founder’s allowance is a grant. Grants have their specific restrictions to ensure a specific direction and objective is achieved.

i.JAM Reload is Singaporean taxpayers money. For those who have not understood the recent climate, the Singapore government is now, more than ever, very particular on how taxpayers money are being used. There have been way too many cases of fraud and embezzlement of government fund. As a Singaporean myself, I hold the government accountable to the taxes I pay. So if you find the applications tedious and detailed, do remember that applicants are taking funds from Singapore. And here in Singapore, we are detailed in the usage of public money.

I hope this helps de-mystify the $1000 allowance per month for founders. I do hope that with this, we will see more applicants coming forward with a better understanding of how the grant works. Here’s wishing all entrepreneurs the best in your endeavours.

Christopher Quek is a resident mentor at AGA. This was drawn from his blog.

01Aug 2013

Hi everyone!

Welcome all to the Angel’s Gate Advisory (AGA) web portal! After many months of dragging and procrastinating, we are now finally proud to establish a website of information. It has been quite silly as everyone that we meet, we repeat ourselves again and again about what we do and what our purpose is. Finally, we can now say, “just go visit our website. Everything is just there!”

Anyhow, as the tagline goes, “Entrepreneurs building Entrepreneurs”. AGA isn’t your typical incubator. We are not experts in finance nor experienced VCs or angels. We are your typical entrepreneurs who gone through the worse and worst of times. Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint hearted. We failed many times, only to learn from the past mistakes and pick ourselves up again for the next fight, which leads to a higher chance of success.

We hope that AGA will be the start of a fresh new perspective. And it is a start of a social cause to build an ecosystem where successful entrepreneurs return to help new budding entrepreneurs avoids the traps and pitfalls that they faced in the past. In this way, we can see higher chances of successful entrepreneurs being honed.

On top of this information site, we will be interviewing and inviting various Singaporean and Singapore-based entrepreneurs to provide their perspectives, hoping that these nuggets of anecdotes will inspire and enrich the development of our entrepreneurial community.

Cheers!