The nature of the project also revealed an interesting snapshot of entrepreneurship
Singapore Startup Gifts, an online platform for curating gifts from the local entrepreneurship community, is back for its second year.
The mission statement is to provide local startups with another avenue to find eyeballs, meaning Singapore Startup Gifts is, first and foremost, a way to support to the community.
It was Co-founded by 500 Startups Venture Partner Arnaud Bonzom and Daniel Rouquette, a Co-founder of Villa-Finder.com. The duo receives no money and is launching the project as an exercise in giving back.
“We feel during Christmas, Chinese New Year, this time of the year, we are all spending money. So we feel on the people side, what is great is if we can help some startups become more visible by putting some of them on the same website. Hopefully it helps them gain more visibility to sell their products,” said Bonzom in a conversation with e27.
The idea of building a startup gifting network began in France in 2014. Called “Le Noël de la French Tech“, it wanted to promote the ideas of local French entrepreneurs. Because, “French entrepreneurs being no better Santa than Singaporeans”, Roquette and Bonzom decided to bring the initiative to Singapore last year.
So what are some of the goodies?
In a very Singaporean fashion, food dominates this year’s gift-giving list. So far, there are 31 companies on the website and 14 of them revolve around food. People can buy subscriptions to Grain, meals from Lembas (formerly Soylent) and gift baskets from Love with food.
If startups are interested in participating, Bonzom said the team is more than open to last minute applications. Apply to participate here (B2C companies only).
Discovering the realities of entrepreneurship
One of the more interesting consequences of this project is it provides a snapshot of the realities of entrepreneurship.
Two of the startups from last year shut down, another two pivoted their business model to B2B. Two startups had their Founders leave and another two had Founders sell their equity. Plus, Soylent rebranded to Lembas.
On the positive side, BeMyGuest raised US$8.5 million and another startup was in talks to be acquired by a unicorn. We have two companies founded this year (Anywhr and Sleek) and a company run by two students (MadeReal).
“We get a sense of this very difficult journey. Being an entrepreneur is very difficult. Danielle is working on a startup and I work as a VC so we give back during Christmas by supporting those entrepreneurs in their difficult journey,” said Bonzom.
Speaking of updates from last year, In 2016, the team at real estate portal 99.co had some fun by posting a multi-million dollar penthouse apartment as a “gift”. According to Bonzom, this actually would have been a brilliant gift because, while it would wipe out the bank account in the short-term, the investment already would have made some serious money (on paper).
Bonzom said the duo hopes to do it again next year, making it something of a Singapore startup tradition.
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