Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

How Would You Invest S$10,000?

It’s not a very big amount, but I asked three people – an entrepreneur and two investors – what they would do with $10,000 Singapore dollars in these economically-challenging times.

Independent consultant Natasha Golding, of The Right Words, says all the negative news of bank collapses makes her so nervous she’d use the money to clear all my personal debt or pay off a chunk of her mortgage.

A more entrepreneurial option, she thinks, is to invest in a cheap but stylish boutique hotel in Hanoi. “Bangkok has several such places but I’ve not yet found any in Hanoi. Personally I like staying in them and business-wise they make a lot of sense. I’d want to invest in a Vietnamese business which has vision, business sense and some other money, (after all) 10K isn’t that much,” she says.

Another idea Golding has which she can invest the money in is a “What technology do I need?” website. This service would help you work out exactly which devices, laptops, PDAs, mobiles, etc., are the best for you based on what you need to be able to do. “You’d tell it: “I want to check emails on the go, type using a full size keyboard and not carry anything bigger then a box of chocolates” or “I want the latest thing everyone’s talking about”. It’d tell you what your options are, how much they’d cost and it’d link you to user reviews. It’ll be clever enough to suggest using multiple devices to achieve your needs, or low-fi solutions like carrying a notebook.” She says the 10K will help pay for some serious research which can form the basis of a business proposal to investors.

Jeffrey Paine of QuantitatiVC advises anyone to invest the money in a new business with partners or start their own business, preferably a high-tech business or one in the mobile space since startup costs can be pretty low.

“I will not invest in publicly traded stocks unless I know the company very well, for example knowing the industry inside out, have talked to the company’s customer base AND to be close to the management team – including knowing who the CEO’s wife is and where she does her nails,” Paine half-jests.

Another option, he says, is to invest in someone else’s startup and just forget about the money since it is capital you are willing to risk losing. “The upside is way more than what a stock market can bring you; it can also be fun. The problem in Singapore is there are not many such early stage deals that can give you a 7X return in 12 months ala del.icio.us,” Paine says.

Nicholas Chan of business incubator Azione Capital would use the money to expand his operations, including looking at niche areas in modernizing current brick and mortar businesses, set up an automated online trade of unique Asian products to Europe and the US, or fund consulting work with companies within the Southeast Asia region.

“Assuming I have unlimited knowledge, connections and capabilities but still (have to work) within the 10K cap, I would look into R&D into exploring enhancements on some fundamental or primitive sources of energy.” Otherwise Chan will just plonk the money into forex and commodities, use the money as bridging loans to a small business or put the funds into a friend’s trading company.

I’d invest in a startup if I had S$10,000. What would you do?


Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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