2016 TiE50 Winner In California, USA - igloohome!
TiEcon (The Indus Entrepreneurs conference) is the world's largest conference for entrepreneurs, with participation from top technology companies, leading venture capital firms and global service providers. It is listed as one of the 10 best conferences for ideas and entrepreneurship, along with TED and the World Economic Forum.
TiE50 is a premier annual awards programme at TiEcon that recognizes the world's most enterprising technology start-ups. And so of course, this meant that we were keen to be one of the chosen ones.
After submitting our application and going through a rigorous selection process in Singapore, which included a product demonstration and interview with management of leading tech companies, igloohome was short-listed together with 9 other Singaporean companies!
To make things even better, a substantial grant was provided by IE Singapore for the trip to California for the 3-day event.
Day 1 of event
This was boot camp day. Prominent venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley were invited to provide guidance to the 100 companies from around the world that were shortlisted for the awards. They shared tips on how start-ups can better present their companies and products to potential investors. Feedback was given to each start-up on how they could improve on their pitches. It was intensive for sure, because it wasn't always easy for each presenter to hear about their own weaknesses. But the advice was helpful, as it was constructive and provided a different perspective on business ideas.
Singaporean start-up Shopmatic was selected as 1 of the top 3 start-ups with the best pitches! It was a pleasure to have gotten to know fellow Singaporeans at the event, and to have seen them perform outstandingly.
Day 2 & 3 of event
The conference and main events were held over these 2 days. There were interesting segments lined up for us, aside from the TiE50 awards:
This was pretty much like speed dating - just that venture capitalists (VCs) were paired up with start-ups. Each
representative from the start-up was paired up with 20 VCs over an hour, which means they only had 3 minutes to pitch to each. Having to summarize the potential of your company in 3 minutes, and having to do it over and over again - definitely a tiring experience, but one that made you refine whatever you wanted to present into concise and clear points.
Each start-up was assigned a mentor, who is established in their respective industries, to have lunch with. As thought leaders in their fields, the mentors provided valuable advice and shared tips based on their experience.
Over the 2 days, there were several keynote addresses made by influential speakers. such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and Senior Vice President of Google Diane Green. There was also a breakout session chaired by VP Innovation & Research (Singularity University) Vivek Wadhwa, who was listed by TIME magazine as one of The 40 Most Influential Minds in Tech. The exhibition was inspiring too, with companies showcasing their products ranging from self-driving cars to drones. Many big data analytics companies were present as well, in addition to biotech and Fintech firms.
Results of the TiE50 awards were announced towards the end of the day. We were thrilled to be one of the 70 start-ups who were selected, together with another Singapore-based start up SurePark, from the 2000 that were screened this year! To end off the event, igloohome joined the rest of the Singapore delegation at TiEcon and other Singaporeans working in the Bay area for dinner, which was organized by IE Singapore. Seeing fellow Singaporeans make their mark in their fields of expertise halfway across the world was motivational for us.
And we wrap up this post with a photo of our award, and a shout-out to IE Singapore for helping to make this trip happen!
Post-edit: igloohome was featured by Channel NewsAsia after being selected as a TiE50 winner - watch the interview and read the article here!