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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Singapore
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3 men in their 30s built a pro-bono startup incubator

Find out how Angels Gate Advisory plan to make Singapore the next Silicon Valley.

Realizing that many Singaporean startups lack the ability to grow to be better companies due to lack of experience, Arvind Khattar, Ko Tze-Shen and Christopher Quek founded Angels Gate Advisory (AGA). Angels Gate Advisory, which is backed by Khattar Holdings, envisions "Entrepreneurs building entrepreneurs" by supporting Singaporean startups by imparting their knowledge and wide range of experiences to the next generation of business people.

AGA, which is celebrating its second year of founding, has three founders and mentors coming from various industries, from those who do traditional hospitality, consultancy, education, enterprise solutions, finance, F&B to those who successfully exiting their startup tech companies.

Here’s their story:

Arvind Khattar, 36, obtained his Economics Bsc (Hons) from The London School of Economics, England in Year 2002. He joined Khattar Holdings Group of Companies as an Executive Director soon thereafter. The Khattar Holdings Group has diverse interests and investments in Singapore and other parts of the world including India, China, Vietnam and United Kingdom. Arvind is generally in-charge of managing the Group’s investment portfolios. He is also actively involved in managing the business of the Group in Singapore elsewhere.

Ko Tze-Shen, 36, has a life-long obsession with technology which has led to a career in various small and large IT firms. He co-founded Interactive SG in 2007 and has played an integral role in the company’s growth. He ensures business operations are efficient and effective, and the products and services meet the highest standards of quality. Shen will be translating his keen eye for perfection to his latest role as Principal for the Angel’s Gate Advisory. He has more than 10 years of experience in software development and gaming consultation.

Christopher Quek, 35, is an active entrepreneur and investor. He has a variety of skillsets under his wing, from offline and online marketing strategies and applications, to application of online and mobile technologies, as well as management of F&B outlets and educational outlets. He has also operated an extensive time out of Malaysia and has an in-depth understanding of the online market there. He is now in a start-up at Enermax Pte Ltd, and responsible for developing a distribution network for the FLO+ nanotechnology worldwide.

According to Christopher, director and resident mentor of AGA, they work on a "giving it forward" ideology, where when they contribute and invest time and energy freely into startups, and when they grow and become profitable, they will too contribute and invest time and energy into the next generation of startups.

“This inspiration, as we hope, will make Singapore the next Silicon Valley, where we see entrepreneurs growing and thriving in an ecosystem of support,” he exclaimed.

AGA is a pro-bono incubator and does not make investments as an entity. Rather, it will connect startups to its network of angel investors and seed fund incubators to take the startups to the next stage of development. Christopher said that their startups are wowed when they tell them we do not ask for equity in exchange for government grants, a refreshing change from the norm. AGA also provide free guidance and advisory, along with free incubation space, to help startups get a firm footing before they get their round of seed funding.

Christopher further explained that there have also been too many stories from start-ups where they were asked to give up equity for free advice by mentors, or coerced to pay fees for various services, and didn't get the value and guidance needed to build their businesses. On the flip side, the Singapore government, he said, has been generous in supporting the start-up culture and offers grants to seed fund ideas. However, Christopher noted that there are too many start-ups who abuse this privilege and only survive to obtain grants. AGA aims to eliminate such behaviour in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, by providing closer mentorship to help aspiring entrepreneurs build legitimate businesses with strong foundations.

“We are Singaporeans hoping to help Singaporean firms succeed. So even if you are just in an idea stage or deep in development, you are in a traditional restaurant business to a medical company, we are open to all companies wanting to make a difference in Singapore and the world,” said Christopher.
 

Singapore Business Review calls nominations for 40 and under most promising/influential businesspeople. Do you exhibit exemplary leadership and influence in your respective industry, or know anyone who does? Send a message to Lee Anne Babierra at research@charltonmediamail.com.

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