Ben Chew is an angel investor and entrepreneur who is running his own human resources consulting firm. Motivated by success stories of local startups such as HungryGoWhere’s exit, he decided to explore alternative investing in startups here in Singapore. Over his past six months of angel investing, the startups that he has met have asked him if his recruitment business can help them to hire developer, co-founders and others. With a little encouragement from a media industry veteran friend, Ben decided to take the plunge and build Startup Jobs Asia.
With the goal of “Building world class companies in Asia, one talent at a time”, Startup Jobs Asia looks to be more than just a job portal for startups. The service looks to provide startups with more leverage when reaching out to talent. By combining the online portal with his recruitment skills, Ben hopes that he can help startups present their jobs in a more attractive manner in order to entice talent, even those that are in the corporate world, to think about joining them. The online portal is just the beginning, Ben is looking to combine this with offline engagements.
Ben is currently working with three other individuals to grow the human capital ecosystem for startups. As of now, Ben mentioned a member of the team is focusing on growing its Malaysia and Indonesia reach, while another is focused on China. The team plans to expand to Thailand soon as there is a potential local partner interested to carry out their operations there.
Ben commented on Startup Jobs Asia’s progress and Singapore’s talent pool for startups, “We view Singapore as an important country to ensure success before we even start offline engagements. Singapore is one of the great startup destination with all the infrastructure like funding, grants, mentorship, co-working space and others. We have plenty of talent here, just that the vibe and human capital ecosystem is not ready. Only when there is capable talent willing to join startups, like how they prefer to join the mainstream career options, then startups can scale further and venture overseas which will bring about more Singapore entrepreneurship success stories. A good example will be like Silicon Valley where people find jobs at startups equally or even more “sexy” than mainstream jobs. In short, we hope to close this gap and we like to think and believe this is the next biggest challenge after a startup is funded.”
Understanding that language is a major barrier for Southeast Asia, Startup Jobs Asia is looking to work with local partners to better understand the local culture, languages and expertise. According to Ben, “Personally, I don’t believe that we can achieve all this by ourselves. This is why we seek to work with partners like the National Research Foundation and iJam incubators, as well as media partners like e27.”
Startup Jobs Asia currently has about 50 job postings since it was launched, which took about two weeks of active work. The local startup community seems to be rallying behind this initiative as Ben and his team have not need to run any advertising and promotional activities so far.
Talking about his experience on Startup Jobs Asia, Keith Ng of gamification startup Gametize said, ” I think Startup Jobs Asia is great for targeting enthusiasts in the startup scene. So, when the applicants come through the door, we can be pretty much sure these are already guys who don’t want to join the corporate world, a culture that is diversely different from the startup world. I’m sure it isn’t the first one in Singapore, but definitely the first free one I know of. I have met some very good candidates.”