Alex Crompton from Entrepreneur First (EF) joined us to discuss the progress of their startup incubator in Singapore and Hong Kong and how they are helping entrepreneurs to build their startup companies by employing a talent first approach. We dived deep into the vision, mission and backstory behind EF and how it operates across the region, and discussed interesting topics from how EF facilitates the interaction between entrepreneurs and steer them towards building companies, and whether the trend of too much incubators create an elitist atmosphere for startup founders out there.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Alex Crompton, managing director, Entrepreneur First, Singapore (LinkedIn, @raccrompton, medium) [0:24]
    • How did you start your career? [0:47]
    • What brought you to Asia? [3:10]
    • In your career journey, what are the interesting lessons that you can share with my audience? [5:00]
  • Entrepreneur First (EF) [6:53]
    • Can you describe the vision, mission and backstory of Entrepreneur First as a startup incubator? [7:06]
    • Who are the founders and the key people driving EF? [10:34]
    • EF as an incubator that targets founders right at the beginning journey of their startups. [11:44]
    • Does EF target founders to start companies from a specific vertical? [13:05]
    • What are the interesting companies or alumni companies that have emerged from EF? [14:31]
    • What is your current role and coverage within EF? [15:33]
    • How will be the metrics that you will use to evaluate if Entrepreneur First (EF) is successful in three years time? [16:25]
    • How does Entrepreneur First (EF) operate as an incubator? How much investment does Entrepreneur First (EF) provide in the startups who are incubated under them? [18:48]
    • What is in the selection process to bring the entrepreneurs into the program? [19:33]
    • What are the signals does the team in Entrepreneur First (EF) look out for in founders within entrepreneurial teams? [20:50]
    • How does EF help the entrepreneurs selected into their program? How do EF deal with issues such as founders breakup during the program? [21:47]
    • There are many incubators out there such as Y-Combinator, TechStars, 500 Startups, what is your competitive advantage? [24:37]
    • Given that Y-Combinator is becoming the Harvard Business School for startups, and now the trend of startups being sexy to people, wouldn’t it breed elitism in the longer run? Would it be worse in the longer run given that entrepreneurs can come from anywhere? [27:02]
    • Other factors at work for startups to succeed for example, market size in China and US being advantage, talent circulation. [29:19]
    • Does EF have any plans to move upstream with investing into companies in later stages? [30:40]
  • Closing [31:17]
    • Can you recommend a book, podcast or anything else that has impact to your work and personal life recently? [31:23]
    • How do my audience find you? [32:28]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong & weibo) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack.