#41: Christina Teo Director of PortXL Singapore

#41: Christina Teo Director of PortXL Singapore

Christina Teo Director of PortXL  Singapore

Listen to the full discussion here:

Ms. Teo has held senior roles in Acer, IBM, 3Com and CSL Hong Kong. She was Yahoo! Singapore’s first general manager in 1999 and launched the world’s first Windows-based smartphone O2 built by HTC in 2002. She has actively taken part in the global start-up scene since 2016, launching other initiatives such as Asia Corporate Women and Startup Asia Women. She is also the Director of PortXL, world’s first maritime startup accelerator. In her own words: “As an accelerator, we are empowering startups and in the maritime space, the best chance at success for startups is to engage maritime conglomerates to prove their product.”

Connect with the Guest:

Christina Teo: LinkedIn | Twitter Blog

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • How PortXL accelerates startups?
  • Instead of telling the startups, “You should go to an accelerator,” why not be one.
  • How PortXL helps startups get the attention of Maritime companies.
  • Memorable startup stories for example Magnetic.
  • Every startup will get feedback from 20 companies and more than 60 professionals at One GO with PortXL.
  • “Scale-ups for us are companies who are already generating a revenue of $750,000 and more.”
  • “B2B startups have a long selling cycle, a long negotiation cycle, and a long development customization cycle.”
  • How PortXL selects and engages their mentors.
  • “90% or 95% of our startups are founded by people who have been in the industry.”
  • “Even though you can digitalize everything, the people are the ones who are still thinking and the ones who implement all those processes.”
  • “It is so important in every corporate culture to empower the employees with a test and learn attitude.

Show notes:

  • [01:07] How did you end up in maritime startups? Tell us a little bit about your history.
  • [02:31] I decided to support women since there was an obvious gap in the market.
  • [03:29] In the maritime industry, you need to work with the big guys because they are the ones who are controlling this whole complex infrastructure.
  • [04:20] Instead of telling the startups, “You should go to an accelerator,” why not be one.
  • [05:25] Could you tell us a little more about PortXL. How do you accelerate startups?
  • [06:18] What I really love about the formula of PortXL is that we focus on B2B startups.
  • [07:02] For startups, when you come through the gates of PortXL, you get the attention of these maritime companies right away.
  • [10:12] We have an excellent track record and they become our jewelry.
  • [10:56] Every startup will get feedback from 20 companies and more than 60 professionals at One GO.
  • [12:00] Scale-ups for us are companies who are already generating a revenue of $750,000 and more.
  • [13:00] Could you share some example of interesting stories, like startups that have scaled up?
  • [15:38] There are issues that lie with many innovation examples and sometimes it is not about corporates not recognizing innovation possibility it but because they go through third-party suppliers to implement a solution.
  • [16:34] B2B startups have a long selling cycle, a long negotiation cycle, and a long development customization cycle.
  • [17:04] Sometimes people overestimate what innovation means.
  • [18:54] Very often in an actual B2B project, one of the issues is involving a lot of stakeholders within the corporate partner company.
  • [20:36] Innovation is supposed to break boundaries.
  • [23:58] Tell us a little about your mentors. How do you select and engage them?
  • [25:36] We’re not trying to help an entrepreneur to pitch better for the sake of pitching better.
  • [27:40] When people really believe in innovation, they will find ways to get this bought in the company even when it is not immediately obvious.
  • [28:35] What do you see is the main challenges in the maritime ecosystem of startups?
  • [29:24] Another reason why our corporate partners love to work with PortXL is that they know that we attract serious startups with real maritime experience.
  • [30:00] 90% or 95% of our startups are founded by people who have been in the industry.
  • [31:08] The maritime industry is an industry that has immense potential.
  • [33:16] Before, there was a lot of resistance- there’s transparency because there wasn’t really a solution.
  • [35:15] Are there certain skills that should be present in a startup to make sure you are complete?
  • [35:28] When you are doing a B2B startup, you need a strong business development expertise.
  • [36:42] You can’t build a case if you don’t understand the problems from each of this so-called supply chain.
  • [37:22] Not every problem is that obvious to corporates and not every solution is immediately obvious to them as well.
  • [39:15] What do you think is the type of skillset needed in the next five years?
  • [40:39] It’s very important in the whole process of digital transformation for people who have been doing a lot manually to have a data appreciation.
  • [42:12] Even though you can digitalize everything, the people are the ones who are still thinking and the ones who implement all those processes.
  • [44:15] It is so important in every corporate culture to empower the employees with a test and learn attitude.
  • [44:52] Test and learn doesn’t mean that you don’t know exactly what you’re doing or where you’re going. It just means that you are taking measured steps in knowing exactly what you’re testing and what you’re prepared to learn from it and what you’re going to do with your learning.

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