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5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how.
Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

This Online Startup Tool Is Helping Singapore's Entrepreneurs Find Funding

Ask any startup in Southeast Asia — if they’re looking to raise funds, they’ve likely been flying in and out of Singapore. The “little red dot,” which is often praised for its friendly business environment and global connectivity, is home to some of the region’s biggest tech venture capital firms. And learning how to navigate the scene and knowing which fund is the best fit for your startup can give you an undeniable leg up.
Photo Credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Which is why two Singapore-based ecosystem builders Arnaud Bonzom and Florian Cornu, who have been long-time collaborators on a number of open data projects for Southeast Asia, have created Map of the Money 4.0. It’s a new tool for entrepreneurs and startups to get the lay of the land in Singapore’s venture community and also figure out how best to raise money.
“We believe that while most information about VC firms is available, it takes a lot of time to collect it and entrepreneurs should be spending time building their company instead of compiling a list of active VCs. By building and sharing this map, we want to help founders save time and also help less well-known funds get the word out,” Bonzom said in a conversation we had last week. 
Photo: Screenshot from the ‘Map of Money 4.0′
The tool features details from the last 12 months on about 65 venture funds that altogether have more than $4 billion assets under management. How it works is users can learn more about potential investors by tapping into data such as the size of the fund, minimum to maximum investment size, the number of known investments that the VC has made, the names of venture partners and its portfolio companies — which is an indicator into the types of startups that the firm typically backs.
The inspiration for the tool dates back to 2009, where the original Map of the Money was debuted by Meng Weng Wong, the co-founder of JFDI, Singapore’s first tech accelerator. To give an idea of how fast the Singapore ecosystem has grown, this was during the time before unicorns Lazada and Grab arrived on the scene and when gaming platform mammoth Garena had just launched. The map saw updates in 2012 and 2014 as the Singapore startup ecosystem grew, which is why the torch had been passed on for a 2016 update.
Photo: Screenshot from the ‘Data’ sheet of ‘Map of Money 4.0′
Based on research done for Map of Money, Singapore’s tech startup scene has evolved over the years thanks to significant changes to the venture community. For starters, Silicon Valley VC shop 500 Startups entered Southeast Asia in 2013 and wasted no time setting up a number of micro funds for Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
A sign of an ecosystem maturing is when seed VCs graduate to the Series A level, and this was seen in Golden Gate Ventures, Jungle Ventures and Rakuten Ventures starting at $10 million and now closing funds at the size of between $50 million to $100 million. A need for an investor at the Series B stage has also sprouted up, as B Capital Group arrived in Singapore — led by Facebook FB +0.38% co-founder and billionaire Eduardo Saverin.
Map of Money 4.0 is just the latest version of the tool, and Bonzom said that they’ve already started working on the next update.