JON WEINBERG is a full-time MBA student working on an International Business Development project in Singapore. His team is working on a cloud encryption product for a Singapore-based startup called Clault (combination: Cloud + Vault).
Our time in Singapore has been interesting and rewarding. Our project, the central purpose of which is to develop a go-to-market strategy for entering the U.S. file encryption space, has taken on new life since we left California 10 days ago.
Because Clault is such a small firm, our work has been extremely collaborative – which, as Haasies, is just fine with us. We regularly work with Marcus, our sponsor, and his team of engineers to learn more about the business and reframe the problems that Clault’s products aim to solve.
We have also met with several prospective clients and investors, gleaning valuable insights on the Singaporean, Malaysian, and U.S. markets. Those meetings have forced us to challenge our convictions on how best to build and scale a young business. We have distilled many of these insights into actionable recommendations for our client’s strategy and product design.
Drew and Chip exchanging a poignant handshake before our meeting with the CIO of SAP in APAC – Jon looks on in wonder
The results of just a week and half of work have been somewhat transformative. The four of us (my teammates Drew Davis, Will Leuchter-Mindel, Chip Malt, and myself) have learned a great deal about both pitching and product development, and our client has received valuable assets that will help him scale his enterprise in the coming months.
Outside of class we have been exploring this diverse and remarkably fun city-state. Despite numerous warnings of high prices, we have discovered Singapore’s nearly limitless bounties of moderately priced Chinese, Indian, Malay, Japanese, and Korean food.
Marcus, our Clault project sponsor, demonstrating how to consume about a gallon of coconut water in one sitting
Drew, Jon, and Will enjoying a mouthwatering meal of spicy Korean hot pot – clearly worth sweating through our shirts
We have also done a good deal of exploring. Although daytime highs in Singapore often top 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), we have run or walked around much of the city center. Highlights have been navigating Singapore’s enormous botanic gardens, getting lost in a bevvy of charming ethnic enclaves—including Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street (yes, it is really called that)—and enjoying a round of shockingly overpriced beers atop Singapore’s iconic Marina Sands resort.
English is one of Singapore’s four official languages (the others are Chinese, Malay, and Tamil), but our team has still encountered plenty of lost-in-translation moments. Some, such as finding that only senior people tend to speak in meetings, have resulted in important cultural learnings. Others, such as our struggles to determine the difference between ramen and spicy ramen, have just resulted in our making fools of ourselves.
Light shining through the branches of an ancient fig tree in Singapore’s sprawling botanic gardens
The Marina Sands resort consists of three 60-story towers connected by an enormous sky deck in the shape of a cruise ship
Next weekend we will fly to Yangon, the capital of Myanmar. There we will meet up with fellow IBDer Haasies, Zane Keller and Andrew Mitsch, who will join us in exploring the city’s beautiful temples and colonial architecture. It is not impossible that we will each consume our bodyweight in delicious local cuisine. More to come.
TWEET / FACEBOOK POST: