Thoughts on Water and Startups

This past week I gave a talk on  water to a group attending TechVenture 2013 in Singapore.

This is a conference centered on startups in Singapore and SE Asia.  Perhaps about 1000 people were in general attendance, but my talk drew about 50 people.

Here is the presentation I gave.

Generally, the problem with innovation in the area of water technology is that the basic inventions can be made and that is where papers get published, ideas can create buzz.  But water is so basic, so important and so prone to being difficult over time and under different circumstances that  companies mistake innovation for the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts of making a solid long lived product.

Finisar makes fiber optic transceivers and these sell today for well below $20 even at 10 Gb/s.  But what makes these parts so remarkable is that when the end customer gets them they are plugged in, and run 7/24 for up to 20+ years and it is quite likely that every single bit they transmit is received error free for the life time of the product.  They are inexpensive, reliable, accurate and all beyond any normal standards we see in ordinary life.

And it has to be the same for water.  1B, yes one billion, people are without clean drinking water on a daily basis.  And no shiny idea from a small company installed in a village will likely stand the test of time working under mishandling, bad weather, changes in water input quality, etc. that is required to deliver trusted water for drinking to the village year after year.

If you think you know how to do this at the same level Finisar delivers transceivers, then give us a shout here at Small World Group.

Yeah.

 

Posted in Essays, Green Perspectives, Singapore Incubator, StartUp Ideas

Welcome to the NEW Small World Group Website

OK, now you see us differently we hope.

We are the same people generally we were for the last 5 years but we have more experience.

Over the last 5 years we have helped start more than 15 companies.  They are all generally in the areas of clean tech, optical systems and novel materials.  Nearly all of these companies have been able to complete their MVP or minimum viable product and they have sold the product to a few early customers.  Some have gone on to make 2nd or 3rd generation products that are better and where improvements are based on customer feedback.  Some have engaged in licensing deals or raised more money from new investors.

What is key?  What is different?

We feel that our model of strong engagement with our companies, where we help them with technical, financial, sales, market decisions and not just listen and give advice at periodic board meetings is working.

We have closed some companies but in nearly every case the companies reached the MVP and revenue milestones but the revenue did not scale or grow as their plans thought it should.  In these cases we could not justify additional funding to chase what was a failed plan.

This is what venture capital is about … testing technically based, scalable ideas.  And accepting the decision of the market and customers.

We hope you will find this new site more open, empowering for you to share your ideas for businesses with us.

Maybe we can make magic together.

Posted in Essays, Investing, Singapore Incubator, StartUp Ideas