Accelerating startups with an entrepreneur-in-residence program

Boosting potential in IAG Firemark's startup accelerator through an entrepreneur-in-residence program.

It was an exciting learning curve as IAG Firemark’s startup accelerator entered its second season. During the twelve-week program, William – Board of Innovation’s APAC Director & start-up mentor – came on board to offer expert support to participating startups through an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program.

Focusing on crucial aspects
of the businesses

The focus of the startup accelerator from this Singapore-based trendsetter is based on five crucial business elements: 

  • go-to-market strategy;
  • product-market-founder fit;
  • corporate readiness profiles;
  • governance requirements; and
  • founders’ capabilities.


So what was the program about and how did it work?

Approach

Starting the accelerator program
with a deep dive

The three-month program started off with a two-hour deep-dive in each of the startups. The program was a combination of weekly coachings by the mentors, and dedicated tracks that IAG Firemark labs provided (such as UX/UI, go-to-market, data science, or legal and compliance). It concluded with a showcase day, where all startups pitched their outcome and learnings.

Let’s take a look at some of the participating startups and how the program helped them overcome some of their key challenges. 

ValAI: creating sustainable finance tools for tomorrow’s society

Since ValAI is in the early stages of writing its story, many questions were raised regarding its business model, product positioning and value proposition towards various stakeholders. During weekly sessions, William challenged founders Allys and Tom to paint a clearer picture of their ambitions, positioning and potential.

The first focus was on the go-to-market strategy, where the team sought answers to questions like, “What is the value ValAI provides to the different stakeholders? Who would benefit the most? How would an affiliate marketing model with home improvement companies work?”

Secondly, by providing feedback on how to improve their sales pitch meetings to attract investors and other critical pieces of feedback, William gave Allys and Tom the opportunity and insights needed to grow their company – and put them on track to raise their seed funding. To do so, they mapped out the ecosystem and multiple potential business models, followed by validating and benchmarking against existing players.

Next, they needed to examine various value propositions for the different stakeholders involved – from end-user to financial institutions, home improvement companies and real estate agents. They analysed how each value proposition would translate into their product and studied multiple revenue models. All the answers defined during their joint sessions were brought together in their rebranded investor pitch deck.

Sheqsy: promoting easy solutions for lone workers’ safety

The big question for Sheqsy (and its CEO, Hays) was how they could optimise sales capabilities and capacity based on their already established product-market fit. By setting up an internal Wiki, Hays would be able to delegate more operational tasks to the team. This knowledge bank would accommodate Shaqsy’s mission, vision and processes.

Together with William, Hays tackled a new aspect of operational and sales scaling every week. From applying tiering in the sales funnel to increasing data usage in inbound and outbound marketing. At the same time, they interrogated the business’ pitch deck, ensuring the optimal narrative and right metrics for communication.

They worked towards a sustainable growth plan that incorporated LinkedIn targeting, Google Ads, and a renewed sales process during their sessions together. They also conducted a thorough customer analysis by analysing the customer journey and buyers, the AARRR framework, and the user base over the last 12 to 18 months.

Truuth: building the world’s most secure, accurate and reliable digital identity service

As the more established startup, Truuth had already developed some business acumen and product readiness. William and CEO Mike sparred on distribution strategies for BioPass to create a distribution playbook for future launches.

If the business wanted to grow a global distribution model, it needed to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option from an internal and external viewpoint. That meant taking a closer look at the channel, marketing, system integrators, marketplaces and much more. In the end, they worked together to establish a road map that would allow Truuth to deliver its plug and play services to enterprise clients. 

Results

Putting our expertise to work for the startups

IAG Firemark’s second startup accelerator season was an exciting and challenging learning experience for everyone involved. By bringing in William’s expertise, IAG Firemark ensured that the businesses in the program gained access to the best business resource for their ambitions.

More info on how an entrepreneur-in-residence
program might benefit you?

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