Meet our Mentor: Rupam Biswas

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Rupam Biswas
Co-Founder & CEO, Sendtech
Accelerating Asia Mentor

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what you do now?

I was previously an Investment Manager for 8 years, managing private equity investment funds in Mumbai and Singapore. Prior to committing full time to Sendtech, I took a 6-month sabbatical, travelling across South America and Asia. I decided then to pursue and commit to building a brand which could hopefully make a difference in organising the unorganised labour market with the ambition of solving labour issues related to the under-served blue collar, non-exec workers.

Sendtech now comprises of Sendhelper and Sendjobs. Sendhelper is a full stack digital platform that directly connects home service providers to consumers. Sendjobs is an AI-driven social hiring platform that instantly connects employers and jobseekers in F&B, retail, hospitality, events, logistics, security and other sectors for non-executive positions.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My typical day begins at 8am, with mornings reserved for the most important tasks. The rest of the day mainly comprises of business meetings as well as impromptu brainstorms with the team.

I leave the office around 8pm for a game of tennis or visit to the gym or swimming before heading home for dinner, and end the day by reading and catching up on what’s happening with the world.

From your perspective, what are some of the trends in the startup ecosystem at the moment?

Burning piles of cash to gain market share is a thing of the past. Startups are going to be more strategic in deploying resources. In the short to medium term, fund raising ticket sizes are expected to be suppressed given the wider macro conditions across the globe. Frothy valuations will disappear too. On the contrary, few superstar startups perceived to be winners will command higher premiums. However, we won’t be surprised to see 1 or 2 late stage companies collapse this year in the region.

E-commerce and mobile payments should see consolidation in the region. Social e-commerce will continue to grow and get more attention from investors. Digital bank licenses by more countries in the region is expected as well. We will see more deep tech startups coming out of Singapore or moving to Singapore. Successful B2C startups will focus more on building communities of users to build or maintain their moat.

What's one piece of advice you would give to a startup?

As a business, take risks and keep evolving.
What is true today may not be true tomorrow; what is working today may not work tomorrow. Customer preferences keep changing. So try to be the driver of this evolution in your product category and its distribution game. If you don’t, you will likely fail or simply play catch up with no differentiation to show for.

As a founder, take care of your physical and mental health.

Get enough sleep, exercise and stay healthy. Life as a founder can get very frustrating, so release all of that frustration by sharing openly with fellow founders, spouse / partner, family and close friends. Always find strength in your wins, so you can deal with the disappointments.

What are some of your highlights during your time as an Accelerating Asia Mentor?

For me, the high point is always the Masterclass that I conduct on Startup Valuations, Investment Terms and Fundraising Best Practices for each cohort. I really enjoy interacting with cohort members and sharing these helpful bits with them. Always overjoyed when I get the feedback that the session was super helpful.

Selection Day Bootcamp is another highlight. It is a non-stop cycle of constructive discussions with around 25 startups from across the region, all completed within a few hours. I am grateful to have the opportunity to meet with such amazing founders. I hope the startups take away some helpful ideas from me too. There is a lot of good energy and good vibes on these Selection Days.

Why did you become an Accelerating Asia Mentor?

Life as a founder is not easy. Time and again, my team and I have been in situations when we were pushed against the wall. But we not only survived, but also thrived. All that is because of the resilience we displayed. What was the source of that resilience? Kind supportive words of peers and loved ones, and help from people when we least expected it. At times, we even got support from complete strangers from within the industry! Thankfully, I learnt very early in my entrepreneurial journey that the best way to help yourself is to help others. Because no matter what, you will need help at some point. If you get some, pay it forward!

Further, over the years, startups/founders whom I mentored have gone on to achieve great success and become much bigger than my own startup. It makes me super proud. And obviously, in some cases, the mentor becomes the mentee too!

I have helped founders in my personal time in areas of my expertise for years now. When Craig and Amra started Accelerating Asia, I continued my association with them which started during their time at Muru-D.

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