Member Spotlight: The Startup Buddy
SGTech had a conversation with Dr. Sharvari Sathe, the Chief Opportunities Officer of The Startup Buddy, on their recent achievements in the Singapore and Asian startup ecosystems. The Startup Buddy won the *SCAPE Most Innovative Startup Award as a part of the Singapore National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards (NYEA) 2018.
The Startup Buddy also placed 9th out of 197 nominations in the whole of Asia for their “Outstanding Contribution to the Asian Startup Ecosystem”, part of The Asian Startup Ecosystem Awards 2019.
SGTech(SGT): Hello Sharvari! Thanks so much for speaking with us! Please share with us the story of The Startup Buddy, and also what the company does.
[(From L to R:) Dr. Sharvari Sathe, Chief Opportunities Officer, Mr Robin Teurlings, Chief Visionary, and Mr Phil Chua, Business Development Executive of The Startup Buddy]
Sharvari Sathe (SS): When we first started working on our company, it didn't start out as The Startup Buddy. It started out as a FinTech company focused on helping people set their monetary goals for the long term, such buying a house within five years, or wanting to buy a car in one to two years. It helped by presenting to the user what they needed to do now to achieve those goals.
We were pretty excited for this idea and started pitching it. We came to realise that there were five other startups doing precisely that, and they were doing it way better than us. But throughout our pitching sessions we were talking to other founders all the time. We then realised that there's a real need here for assistance.
Most aspiring founders have great ideas in their mind, but they find it hard to make that leap of faith towards starting something and actually incorporating the company. We understood that being intimidated to take the jump doesn't mean that you're a terrible founder. We wanted to be the solution to this problem. That’s how we became The Startup Buddy. We enable people to turn their ideas into their dream companies.
The Startup Buddy has been around for a year now, and since then, we've been working with lots of founders. It's not just about getting assistance that they need. For many, just getting access to the right resources is hard. For others, it becomes a choice between quitting your job or dropping out of college and building your startup. It doesn’t have to be that way. Through our online accelerator, you can work a full-time job or study while figuring out if your idea is strong enough to be financially dependent on it. This removes a huge personal risk to founders.
SGT: We heard that The Startup Buddy has won the Most Innovative Startup Award at the recent National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards (NYEA). Do share with us what was the outcome, and if possible, any secrets as to how you won it?
SS: The Startup Buddy was nominated for NYEA by *SCAPE. Winning the most innovative startup award was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase The Startup Buddy and to meet with Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Singapore.
We have a good relationship with the people at *SCAPE. In the past, *SCAPE has introduced us to meet with Dr Ho Pin Teo, a Member of Parliament and Mayor of North West District, Singapore. He liked what we we’re doing and has looked for ways in which we can benefit the youth of the North West community.
We've always been in conversation about how we can help the startup community at *SCAPE HubQuarters. Talking to the community at *SCAPE is excellent validation for us. It tells us that we're doing something right, something that founders need.
SGT: What does the future look like for The Startup Buddy?
[Dr. Sharvari Sathe recounts with SGTech on her journey with The Startup Buddy, and the positive work they are doing in the Singapore startup ecosystem]
SS: I see our team expanding and hiring more developers, designers and data analysts. This year, we are building a platform that brings together our 3 central cores: The Startup Buddy, Investeur and Golden Egg Check all in one.
We've had startup founders approaching us from Australia, India, Indonesia and the Philippines to work together with them through their fundraising process. Apart from our connections in Singapore, we have partnered with a few companies in Europe now to enable fundraising for them, so we are moving regional as our next step.
Just today, The Startup Buddy bagged connections with over 4000 new startup investors in Europe! That means, we can now offer our fundraising customers access to a total of over 5000 investors globally.
SGT: The Startup Buddy is an SGTech Startup member. How have your experiences with SGTech been?
SS: SGTech has been super helpful for us to source local talent. I’ve been learning practical tips from people like Shee Min (SGTech’s Associate Manager for Capability Development) when I was new to hiring, such as matching the hiring cycle with the academic calendar of educational institutions.
We take a targeted approach to hire talent by posting to specific portals such as TalentGuru. SGTech has contributed by informing us of upcoming career fairs held at Institutes of Higher Learning as well as polytechnics in Singapore. This has given us access to a talented pool of IT students and business developers.
The Startup Buddy is a founder friendly online accelerator. Their platform provides step-by-step guidance through specially designed missions, mentors from around the world and curated content to help founders with their startup journey. To find out more visit www.thestartupbuddy.co.
Published Mar 2019