VCs and execs share how IP can be a key driver of corporate growth

In recent years, the startup scene in Singapore has grown significantly, spanning many different sectors.

Out of all the goals, awards, and titles startups can achieve, one is the most coveted: unicorn status.

Unicorn refers to startups that manage to reach a valuation of over US$1 billion and like a mythical creature, these are rare.

At IP Week held on Wednesday (September 7), organized by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), there was a specific discussion – including venture capitalists and managers. business executives – discuss how startups can harness the benefits of intellectual property (IP).

No IP, no business

Businesses, especially startups, are built on what they have IP. One particular point that the panelists agreed on was that the IP of a business is of paramount importance.

Lim Jui, CEO of SG Innovate, emphasized that because having IP means being exclusively offered in a certain field, startups need to have their own IP.

Lim Jui, CEO of SGInnovate
Lim Jui, CEO of SGInnovate / Image Credit: SGInnovate

In fact, IP is so important that Clarence Tan, founder of venture capital firm Origgin, assesses the strength of a startup by looking at several criteria, and three of them are related. to IP.

He looks at whether the startup has a well-managed IP portfolio, whether the team is reliable enough to produce more IPs, and whether the startup’s IP can help the company grow. develop or not.

Shailesh Naik, CEO and Founder of MatchMove
Shailesh Naik, CEO and Founder of MatchMove / Image Credit: Economic Times CIO

That being said, Shailesh Naik, CEO and founder of MatchMove, admits that while IP is something VCs and other investors value, it is “encouraging the same thing in other businesses.” Starting a business is very difficult.” Usually, he has to incentivize and reward founders for patenting his technology.

Naik also notes that registering an IP not only proves to investors that the company is worth the investment and he further argues that although the benefits of registering an IP are not immediately obvious, but early registration can prove to be a defensive resource for companies as they expand.

Referring to the startups he has mentored, Naik recalls that “we started seeing companies, for example from Turkey and Brazil, challenging or accusing us of infringing on their IPs. surname. Fortunately, because we were ahead of the game, we were able to resolve the situation before it turned into a crisis.”

So he strongly recommends to founders that they “pay attention to IP if your startup is in Singapore and know you are very, very lucky, as we have clear and fair authority.” fighting for our startups”

IP can be the engine for growth and protect that growth

Jesley Chua, Chief Financial Officer of Group One Holdings
Jesley Chua, CFO of Group One Holdings / Image Credit: Group One Holdings

At the same time, IP can help act as an important growth engine. Jesley Chua, Chief Financial Officer of Group ONE Holdings – the parent company of ONE Championship – believes that the company’s IP is a significant growth driver for the company.

When you watch an event, you know it’s a ONE Group event. That brand recognition makes us legit. ONE Championship for example, why would anyone care about it? That’s because we keep bringing in stronger fighters, and these fighters join because they recognize the brand and its legitimacy.

And when you think about revenue streams, most of it comes from sponsorships. Having a recognizable brand will bring these grants and also help the company’s bottom line.

– Jesley Chua, CFO of Group ONE Holdings

Alan Chan, Chief Risk Officer, Lazada

Lazada’s Chief Risk Officer, Alan Chan, also explained that Lazada is also active in protecting intellectual property and intellectual property rights. As an e-commerce platform, Lazada has creatively used intellectual property and intellectual property rights protections to develop their own business.

IP is a topic close to us and it affects sellers on Lazada’s platform. Imagine being a salesman and realizing that someone is stealing your design.

Lazada is an e-commerce, not just a sale. It is also intended to help sellers protect their rights and ensure that there are proper channels in place to ensure that the seller’s IP is protected as well.

– Alan Chan, CRO of Lazada and CEO of Lazada Malaysia

This protection has allowed Lazada to assure sellers that their rights are protected and thus, grow their platform by attracting more sellers. Alan appreciates this approach to Lazada’s success and encourages other companies not to underestimate their IP.

What can the government do to help startups?

While panelists appreciated the support the government has provided in protecting intellectual property rights in Singapore, they also made suggestions on possible improvements to deal with these challenges. certain defects they perceive.

Lim Jui noted that despite a healthy funding ecosystem in Singapore, there may still be some underserved areas, especially in those with long lead times. Clarence agrees, noting that in terms of funding, she’s not sure that “more funding necessarily produces more results.”

Instead, Clarence suggests creating sandboxes for startups to test and test their ideas.

She also noted that while regulators are injecting money to simulate funding for startups, this often comes with constraints on how the funds are used such as salary offsets, fees, etc. legal and more.

In this regard, the panelists expressed the hope that more support could be given to these startups to register their intellectual property and suggested that the offset of the intellectual property registration fee could be is one of the areas where startups can use government funding. This will be especially helpful for startups that often don’t have excess cash.

Clarence also found that in Singapore, the market is too small for startups to grow into unicorns, and so more support is needed. However, there is a red tape when it comes to overseas expansion, such as the requirement that startups are still primarily locally owned.

According to Clarence, these restrictions will hinder startups from expanding abroad, and he hopes that more support can be given to those hoping to expand abroad.

In terms of technology, Singapore has the upper hand. But startups have to tap markets outside of Singapore, so the policy should be friendly to those looking to expand overseas.

– Clarence Tan, founder of Origgin

Singapore’s startup scene is maturing and its limitations are becoming apparent. But so far, panelists do not seem to believe that these limitations are insurmountable. In fact, many of them seem to believe that these limitations can be worked around and overcome.

Meanwhile, panelists seem optimistic about the future growth of startups in Singapore, fueled by strong IP generation by research in Singapore.

Featured image credit: Vulcan Post

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