From left to right: Everett Tee, Alka Garg, Hilmi Ja'affar, Kenneth Hu, Saurab Verma, Gustavo Liu
In early 2017, Gustavo Liu resigned from his job of 11 years in banking, packed his bags and flew to Southern California to pursue one thing: Entrepreneurship. Hearing much about the growing community of tech startups in the area, Gustavo began networking with startup companies in the US. His goal was to immerse himself in the startup culture and establish business partnerships, so as to acquire exclusive rights of distribution back in Asia.
His deep involvement in the startup community eventually led to a realisation: Despite having received scattered advice and mentorships in various forms, many startup founders still lacked proper guidance and support. That was when he met his co-founder Ms Bian Li. Together, they founded The Hungry Lab, with the mission to democratize entrepreneurship so that anyone who is hungry to achieve can create their own pathway to success.
The Hungry Lab is an AI software platform for personalising entrepreneurship to help propel founders, teams, organisations maximise their potential. Utilising data collected from both open sources and through private engagements, a smart algorithm is embedded on the platform to aid the matching of stakeholders. The Hungry Lab helps to guide startup teams to success, reducing burn rates by 60-80%. The platform provides both entrepreneurs and investors access to resources and performance visibility, increasing their success rates significantly.
According to a 2018 research, 90% of all startups fail, with the top two reasons being the founder’s incompetence, as well as a lack of experience and resources. Based on his interactions with startup founders, Gustavo and Bian Li recognised that founders often felt that there were tackling challenges all by themselves, despite having been accepted into accelerator programmes or incubators.
Co-founder Gustavo Liu shares, “Traditional education is largely designed for students to obtain degrees and certifications, only to realise that very little is actually applicable in the real-world. This is the case for startups, where founders grind through the process to finally pitch to investors for funding, and yet only 10% of startups make it to achieving significant return to their investors.”
He feels that as a key stakeholder in the ecosystem, investors should interact and support startups continuously, rather than basing all judgement on a single pitch deck within a day’s presentation. His vision for The Hungry Lab is to get stakeholders to interact more efficiently and improve access to resources regardless of social, economic or physical barriers.
Just like any tech startup, building The Hungry Lab from ground up was no easy feat. Gustavo, along with his co-founder Bian Li, had to pull together everything from hiring people, acquiring customers and partnerships to building the tech infrastructure from scratch.
Gustavo shares, “It is always a challenge for any organisation to balance the need to empower people with sufficient tools and knowledge, while survival depends on keeping a tight hold on limited resources.”
When asked to share a word of advice to fellow entrepreneurs, he says with a laugh, “Just keep going. As long as you are breathing, you are fine.”
By the end of this year, the company plans to close an angel round of $500K and aims to enable the first layers of smart matching algorithm as well as continuous feedback assisted front-end by mid of 2019.
Besides that, The Hungry Lab will continue to provide quality content through events and establishing strategic partnerships. They will even explore subsidiary offices in other Asian countries to tap into regional startup ecosystems.
Visit The Hungry Lab’s website to find out more about their work.
The Hungry Lab is one of the successful recipients of the Startup SG Founder Grant, administered by TRIVE as their Accredited Mentor Partner (AMP).
From 24 April 2018, TRIVE has announced that it will administer the grant free-of-charge, without any requirement of sweat equity or payment.
Interested entrepreneurs are invited to apply for the grant at TRIVE’s website.