3 reasons why Entrepreneur First accelerates company-building for entrepreneurs

Posted:
28 January, 2022

Entrepreneurship can be highly rewarding but it is also highly intense. Even the most successful entrepreneurs would wish they could have just gotten valuable advice before they started, and avoid the pitfalls of the founders that came before them.

Entrepreneur First recently hosted an AMA session with EF Singapore alum, Abhishek Gupta, the founder of Movel AI, a startup that makes robots smarter. His startup has since grown to a team of 18 people across China, India, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Here are the 3 biggest takeaways from his Entrepreneur First experience:

#1 Entrepreneur First offers the ultimate edge for ambitious founders - speed

“The biggest value for me joining Entrepreneur First was the access to proper guidance and framework that’s very helpful when it comes to building a company from scratch,” tells Abhishek.

Knowing what’s most important to focus on at any given moment and also what’s next is essential and advantageous to any first-time entrepreneur. They are getting what experienced founders learned, all compressed together to propel them forward the very first time. 

“And this unique, fast-paced experience also allows you to learn more about yourself, how to run a company, even the more technical aspects,” Abhishek adds. 

“One thing that I personally found very beneficial was the regular check-ins where we get constructive feedback from the mentors at EF. These made a huge difference, allowing us to make material progress in our very early-stage entrepreneurial journey.”

#2 Entrepreneur First is a great place to meet like-minded people to ideate

“I always valued freedom of mind, the ability to have the autonomy to drive real, tangible impact,” says Abhishek.

“And so when I saw the problems in hardware robotics, I decided to make a hard shift to do software robotics.” 

However, jumping into a new field meant starting from zero; he had no network to find a suitable co-founder and he also needed an unrestricted environment to tinker and figure out what exactly to build.

“Joining Entrepreneur First became my gateway,” recalls Abhishek.

“EF quite literally cleared my two biggest obstacles by giving me immediate access to a curated pool of talented founders and also the uninhibited space to expand my perspectives and search for the right robotics software to build.”

Keeping an open mind to working with others and dabbling with ideas proved useful and he eventually paired up with a fellow robotics expert.

The duo uncovered a hidden gap in the robotics automation market back then. Robots lacked a critical function of being able to navigate crowded and spacious environments independently, thereby severely limiting robot adoption. 

There was obvious market demand and so they designed a new software and integrated it into an existing robot, demonstrating to their early adopters that they have the solution to empower robots to operate and handle complex conditions without human intervention.

And Movel AI was born.

Indeed, it was only at Entrepreneur First that Abhishek got the chance to partner with numerous talented founders before finding the partnership that sparked off a workable, feasible idea. 

 

#3 Entrepreneur First invests and connects startups to investors

“The most challenging part of the entrepreneurial journey since inception was around fundraising,” reveals Abhishek, “It certainly helps to fundraise together with a co-founder as single founders tend to be a big red flag for investors.”

Entrepreneur First solves this by bringing ambitious founders together, providing a conducive environment for them to pair up to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey. It’s also where Abhishek had countless opportunities to hone his pitching skills before finally pitching at Demo Day in front of EF’s investor network pool. 

“On the one hand, to be able to convince investors, you have to show that you have actual paying customers and a target market that holds a reasonably large potential. All your financial numbers have to be at your fingertips to take on any questions they might have,” tells Abhishek.

“And on the other hand, it also goes both ways. If you have a solid product and are seeing good traction, choose your investors wisely. Ideally, look for an investor that can provide money and also the expertise to push your startup to the next level.” 

Movel AI today has a wide pool of investors such as 500 startups, SGInnovate, Enterprise Singapore, and a SGX-listed corporate VC. 

Abhishek wrapped up the session with two pieces of advice: network profusely and resolute persistence.

“You have to start speaking with anyone and everyone in the cohort, right now, today and be very open to ideas. It will save you time and tip things in your favour at EF, at least that’s what worked well for me.

And entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted; you have to be tenacious and single-minded. I still remember how challenging reaching out to cold leads initially was. In my experience, for every 100 people we reached out to, 10 would reply and we only get to meet 5, ” shares Abhishek.

“One final tip to share to smoothen your customer discovery phase: try reframing your invite as a session to learn from the experts. People just love giving advice. I tried and it definitely helped.” 

If you aspire to build a globally important company, the time is now. Apply to EF Singapore’s April 2022 cohort here

 

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