Exits make startup life more glamorous.

Another Singapore based startup Viki have been acquired by Japan’s Rakuten. This is one of the largest exit for a local startup at US$200M1 and a great piece of news for startups based in Singapore despite the fact that we have smaller market but we certainly can produced global companies. Congrats Viki, you are awesome!

Terence Lee from sgentrepreneurs wrote a beautiful piece of article that shared What Viki’s USD 200M exit means for Singapore’s startup ecosystem. If you are into starting up, I strongly suggest you to read this piece.

Of course, never underestimate the pitfalls and psychological sacrifices of starting up. But every risk must have its reward, and the higher the upside, the more people would be willing to go down this route.

And I think Terence is very right that exits are very important to a startup scene, they help circulate the money and they definitely make startup life much more exciting and glamorous.

But before you see these hypes and jump straight into startup life, I like to share 3 things with you in my 2 years of startup life journey.

  • Do note that building a business is a marathon2. Sometimes, it might be even worst that a marathon, when you are just hanging round there – sort of like becoming a zombie3.
  • For every winner out there, there are many failures around. You see news like startups exiting or buyouts, and you believe that you are the next million dollar exit or even billion. I’m sorry to burst your bubble.I not saying that it is not possible, it is. Just that it would be one wild ride that is not easy as it seems.
  • If you are reading about news like this4 and this5 thinking that “hey, it not that hard to raise funds, see all these money going around, my startup do not even need to make money” you are wrong. Yes, you can leverage on startup grants6 to start and prototype your idea. Intraix did the same. But I would strongly suggest that you have an idea on how to make money otherwise you might just die from being a “Grantrepreneur7”.

In case you are wondering that I’m discouraging you from starting up, I am not. In fact, I would love more people to take up the entrepreneurship journey. It’s fun and you learn lots of things especially with the startup scene is getting exciting now. I looking forward to see more innovation and exits from local scene. So get your business plan ready 😀

  1. check out VentureDex – a listing of the acquisitions in Southeast Asia and Viki just top the table with US$200M. You can also see that we have quite active acquisition of Singapore startups this year.
  2. Todd McKinnon: A Startup Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
  3. Zombie Startups
  4. LoanGarage hires experienced CTO, closes six-digit Pre-Series A round – every time when I see a title like this, I would laugh. What is a six-digit round? 100k?
  5. Online baby products retailer Tã Em Bé receives six-figure funding – here’s another one, this time Six figure. Six figure can range from from 100000 to 999999.
  6. startup grants available – ace startup grant ; ijam
  7. a term coined by dunno who, I think I picked it up on Facebook, I think it is pretty cool so I decided to use it. – an entrepreneur that builds his startup raising grant after grant or fund after fund without making money. “there is nothing wrong with this, whatever floats your boat, but if you are in the startup route to build a great company, remember that there is only one Tumblr/Facebook out there.”
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