Saturday was a very interesting day – I was judging business plans at Startup @ Singapore 2008. S@S is a business plan competition that allows young entrepreneurs to put their bright ideas into a plan, and if its good – earn about $30,000 in prize money to get it started.
I was allocated into judging for a room which mainly focused on web services and online applications. I guess it made sense – my co-judges in the room – Alex, Shir Li, Mr Boon and Col. Chan – most of them also specialized in online media and web portals.
Here’re the contestants:
Anyway, it was a tough fight in our room with the top three team being placed very closely. One company understood the market very well. Another had the experience to make this work. And a third had an industry-changing concept. Tough fight.
In the afternoon, our room fought it out with the other judges from other rooms – There were some good ideas in other rooms too. But we were the only room to take three teams to the delibration room (Everyone else brought only 1 or 2).
Anyway, after hours of fighting, we decided upon one team advancing into the finals. To be honest, I think they need some work and I’d probably invest my money in one of the other two teams. But the decision was unanimous and they did a good job.
An interesting afternoon for me – met a lot of great people in my industry. And other judges who were luminous in their own industry. And it gave me a lot of thoughts about what makes a good business vs what wins a business plan competition.
Revolutionary ideas win business plans. It’s as simple as that. Revolutionary technology. Or revolutionary market potential. Or revolutionary team.
I wouldnt necessarily invest my money in revolutionary businesses – but at least that’s a tip for anyone else who participates in a business plan competition 🙂
One of the writers I admire is called Yanik Silver. He just spent the weekend with Richard Branson and wrote up his 34 rules for maverick entrepreneurs. Should be a must read for anyone in business.
Further Reading: 34 Rules for Maverick Entrepreneurs