Continuous improvement through SPH Plug and Play

I'm back in Singapore this week for SPH Plug and Play Cohort 2's demo day on Friday. As the Partner in Residence for the program, I've been applying what I learned mentoring Techstars, Spark Labs, Upscale, Eleven, and other accelerator programs and iterating my own knowledge of mentoring, fundraising, and accelerator programs. At last count I've been involved with programs from across 7 cities (Korea, Chicago, Bulgaria, London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong).

If you'd like to attend Demo day, please RSVP here for this Friday's event.

My key experiment was to increase my impact/time ratio to its apex and not hit diminishing returns. Some of the things I tried and learned:

  • minimize being on the ground in Singapore, limiting myself to one trip in the beginning of the program, one in the middle, and the last two weeks before Demo Day. Instead, I did weekly remote check-ins. Feedback so far is that this works - and what's even more critical is the first week to bridge emotional connections
  • last two weeks for pitch practice is enough to get to a great result
  • minimize long feedback sessions and focus rather on 20 minute check-ins. Feedback so far is that the time is more than enough, if the startup is focused and direct during check-ins
  • increase the number of mentors per feedback session to give more data points to increase time efficiency, rather than multiple one-to-ones. Move to one-to-ones if there needs to be extra hand-holding
  • one feedback session per week. Feedback is that what would help is to set an email update/agenda on things to be discussed before the session, and then the session is devoted to discussing those items

    This was also my first time interacting with the Singaporean startup ecosystem in depth. My impressions are that despite long-standing government efforts, the ecosystem is still quite early. However, with some mentoring and a global perspective, startups are receptive to feedback, can become global in viewpoint, and are willing and able to execute. Also, running lean is a perspective that most startups are inculcated with.

    Thanks to Rudy from SPH and Jupe from Plug and Play for getting me involved and making me feel at home. Thanks to Carinna, Jielun, and Terence for helping me flesh out the learnings.