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A Singaporean platform to accelerate sales

Zafar Anjum | Sept. 24, 2014
Tête-à-tête with Basheer Cassim, CEO of VENTES Private Limited

What do you think are the strengths of Singapore as a startup hub?

The environment in Singapore is great for starting new companies. The legal system is reliable, it is easy to hire people, there is easy access to initial sources of funding, the infrastructure is world-class, the tax system is friendly, and the administrative hurdles are not too complicated.

What are its weaknesses? 

It has been a challenge to find world-class talent for our startup. The talent pool for start-ups seems limited because most people still believe that working for a large MNC is better for their career. It means that startups have to work harder to attract highly talented people.

The country is also relatively small, and the size of our addressable local market is limited as compared to large countries like US, China or Japan. It means that startups have to plan and fund rapid international expansion if they want to thrive.

Did you get any government help in your startup journey?

We were successful in getting support from IDA and SPRING. It certainly made a very positive impact on our business. IDA helped make connections to various business leaders and SPRING helped by awarding a grant.

What challenges did you face in founding and growing your startup?

We had a number of difficulties in starting the company but only a few major challenges. Our biggest challenge was to build a world-class management team. We could only find a small number of local highly experienced managers (Singaporean or PR) to join the team. We had to draw from our international network to bring in other members of the leadership team (from UK and US).

What is the status of your company now? Where do you see it in five years?

We had a successful launch of the company. We built a world-class team, we raised all the funding required, developed our first platform and signed our first customers. We are now building scale into our cloud platforms and actively pursuing additional customers. Over the next five years, we need to expand internationally and become a dominant player in Asia.



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