ACE Peer Group

The Path to Entrepreneurship

Jeffrey Tiong, founder of Intellectual Property intelligence company PatSnap, shares his experience in a peer-sharing group and why he thinks it can be a springboard to success for entrepreneurs.

On 7 March 2017, PatSnap announced a S$22 million investment in an R&D centre in Singapore to enhance patent intelligence. It will have a team of data scientists and software engineers researching machine learning techniques and technologies like natural language processing, image recognition and semantic search. Future plans for a similar facility in London were also revealed.

PatSnap has come a long way since its founding in 2007. Backed by investments from the likes of Sequoia China, the venture capitalist firm that funded successful companies such as Alibaba, Mobike, and DJI, as well as Vertex Venture, the venture capital arm of Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, PatSnap now serves companies, academic institutions and government agencies across 40 countries.

For founder Jeffrey Tiong, the path to entrepreneurship, and to PatSnap’s current success, was made easier with some help from his peers.

“In the startup world, we go through what I call a ‘compressed lifecycle’. What others take three to four years to complete, we’re trying to achieve in one year. We don’t have the luxury of time to live through different experiences and learn from them, so I see peer sharing as an opportunity to learn from other people’s experiences, and that’s an effective and powerful way to grow,” said Jeffrey, who was a pioneer of the ACE Peer Group, an initiative to facilitate peer mentoring and create a support system for entrepreneurs.

“It started out in 2015 as a casual gathering of friends. I think we all realised that, as business owners, there were things that we couldn’t discuss with our teams, board members or even co-founders. The gathering became a safe haven where we could share freely and in confidence,” he said.

“I think it worked because we were same but different — all entrepreneurs but with diverse businesses and at different stages of business growth. We could immediately relate to what others were sharing. Even if we didn’t have a solution for the matter at hand, being empathetic and talking about similar experiences was a great moral booster. At the same time, taking onboard different opinions also helped broaden our own perspectives.”

Since then, the ACE Peer Group has grown into a fully-fledged structured programme where entrepreneurs of similar profiles are encouraged to share, provide and receive peer support and advice. For those keen on participating, Jeffrey has one piece of advice: “The sooner everyone in the group opens up, the more everyone benefits, so go in prepared to share and you’ll receive more than you imagine.”

If you would like to be part of the ACE Peer Group and connect with likeminded entrepreneurs, indicate your interest in the programme by clicking here.

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