2021 Jan 26 Tech Tuesday

On Jan 26, 2021, Singcham Shanghai held our first Tech Tuesday webinar for 2021 titled "How Corporates and Tech Startups collaborate on digital transformation?". Representing the corporate perspective and experience were Mr. Prasanth Thomas, SVP, Digital and Technology and Head of Platforms and Application, Sembcorp, and Dr. Derek Wang, GM Alibaba Cloud Singapore. Mr. Alvin Foo, Co-Founder DAOventure and Magic Rainbow, and Mr. Steve Xie, Careershe Edtech startup contributed the tech startup angle. The panel session was moderated by Dr. James Ong, CEO of Origami and also SUTD Adjunct Professor.

During the hour-long session, many pertinent issues around corporate and startup partnerships were covered:

(1) Why do corporations want to collaborate?  Operating at different scales results in different knowledge access. Corporates are highly receptive to leveraging startups for exploring ideas and novel technologies.

(2) They Speak Different Languages. Corporates and startups speak different languages; dialogue is necessary to, but also the most challenging part for building common understanding.

(3) Top Down Championship is a Must!  Leadership and ownership is vital in mission-driven partnerships; top-down commitment in corporates is vital before engagement with startups.

(4) Ecosystem Platform as Collaboration Strategy for Corporates Corporates could develop an ecosystem platform to reduce friction in collaborations with startups

(5) Startups Must Upskill to Engage Corporates  Startups should develop better skills such as target account selling and spin selling to better engage corporates by understanding their needs and priorities. 


We thank our speaks for their insight, and all participants for this successful webinar.

“It was an absolutely great event bringing together diverse stakeholders from corporates and start-ups to exchange ideas on how to collaborate. Both sides have different perspectives of common challenges and there is immense value in sharing and learning from each other. Not even the largest corporates can claim to be experts in all emerging areas – you don’t know what you don’t know – and that is where start-ups can add a lot of value. Start-ups must be able to find the right client sponsor and define their value proposition in business terms while corporates must find ways to adapt legacy internal processes to work nimbly with start-ups.“ – Prasanth Thomas


"Collaboration is like the oxygen to every company, especially to tech startups and small and medium companies. No one could win without synergy. As a new comer in Southeast Asia market, Alibaba Cloud builds our ecosystem to collaborate with government agencies, associations, institutions, start-ups and other partners." - Dr. Derek Wang


“Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation and the partnership between large corporations and tech startups are the perfect way forward to drive innovation at scale”. – Alvin Foo


“Early stage startups requires a lot of resources and market validation which today’s seminar has highlighted that major corporates are willing partners. The main challenge is how to find the right person who will enable this partnership between the startups and corporates.” - Steve Xie.


This event made possible by our Tech & Inno Workgroup Champions James and Herman, and our community partners Alibaba Cloud, Origami Frontiers, MayCham Shanghai, Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce, Asia Transformation and Turnaround Association, Brice Valley, The Executive Center, and OSG.