12 April 2016 – Last month, NUS Computing launched its new matchmaking service for startups, Matchapreneur, which included a live ‘nanopitching’ and speed dating event that was held on 23rd March at the school.
It was developed and led by Adjunct Professor Pete Kellock, who is part of the NUS Computing Innovation & Entrepreneurship Committee and provides mentorship to startups in The Furnace, the School’s incubator. The service is open to anyone who is interested in new ventures and has attracted close to 300 sign-ups. More than 120 people with diverse interests and involvements in startups attended the live event.
Dr. Kellock describes how Matchapreneur works:
For a long time I've felt that the way entrepreneurial people find each other is brain-dead. It's usually a case of more or less random encounters, or trying to use tools designed for other purposes - recruitment websites and the like.
To make it more efficient, I figure the key thing is to let people learn a little bit about a lot of other people very quickly, then home in fast on the people they want to explore more. In Matchapreneur the first step is achieved with "Nanopitches": participants get 1 minute each to say who they are, what they're doing, and what they're looking for. With a little help from our purpose-built web app, this works beautifully: in our inaugural event more than 50 people took the stage in under an hour. The second step is also facilitated by our app: at any time, a participant can click a button to request a meeting with any other participant.
The app then matches people up according to their requests and in the second half of the live event assigns them 5-minute "Speed Dates" where they can learn a bit more about each other. Again this was very effective during our live event: most participants had more than 10 meetings in an hour.
The first event was an experiment: as far as I know, this particular format was previously untried. It worked better than I dared to hope. The audience was highly enthusiastic at the end and many people have told me they made multiple useful contacts.
Now that the concept is validated, my hope is to see this become a startup in its own right, initially in Singapore, later the world... perhaps even the TED of startup networking?
Mr. Kelvin Ng, Business Development Director of Funded Here, attended the live Matchapreneur event and said, “After attending countless demo days and networking sessions, Matchapreneur differentiates itself with its organic reach and creative speed-dating format. I made over a half dozen contacts from that evening alone, not to mention the dozens more referrals after. I'm hoping that Matchapreneur becomes a regular feature in the Singapore tech and entrepreneurship scene, and we can reduce the six degrees of separation between tech, capital, and academia in Singapore."
Another attendee, Mr. William Gaultier, said, “Matchapreneur was one of the simplest most efficient platforms I have seen in a long time, Talk about an MPV! – and I have seen a lot in 19 years of Silicon Valley, KL, Hong Kong and Shanghai startup scenes. Unlike other pitch or presentation “platforms” that are flat, Matchapreneur’s platform offered the 1) pitching 2) the instant matching of entrepreneurs/investors/employees and 3) speed dating for any startup ecosystem in one place.” A global business leader, Mr. Gaultier has led innovation and marketing for global brands around the world and grown client revenues to a cumulative $1B.
In between live events, aspiring entrepreneurs or anyone keen to work with startups may still use the Matchapreneur online app to connect with people by signing up, referring to the ‘Participants’ list and directly contacting anyone whose listed skills and interests fit their requirements. Matchapreneur users will be notified of the next event via email and Matchapreneur’s Announcement page.