Gerald is an analyst at Scrum Ventures where he scouts and evaluates promising early-stage companies. Gerald is a native Singaporean. Before working at Scrum, Gerald was at the Singapore Prime Minister’s Office where he worked on projects to seed the Singaporean startup ecosystem. Aside from work, he is currently taking graduate courses at Stanford studying entrepreneurship.
What startup verticals interest you most right now?
I’m really interested in marketplaces, robotics (driverless cars, drones) and the smart home. We are seeing almost every possible service being made available online and on-demand for the sake of convenience — whether it be home cleaning, meal delivery or more recently, grocery shopping. At the same time, more of the appliances in our homes and offices are being connected to the Internet. It will be interesting to see how those two trends converge.
What are your biggest predictions for the year ahead?
There’s a good chance that advancements in autonomous robotics would displace the marketplace model’s reliance on contractors. The emergence of the on-demand marketplace economy from companies such as Uber and Handy has largely been underpinned by a large pool of talented contractors. The engine powering those companies has been the contractors. Without them, these companies would simply fail to exist.
With advances in driverless technologies and autonomous drone delivery services, I predict that we will see a major shift from this contractor-based model, to one that displaces the need for human labor.
Are there any specific company ideas that you really want someone to build and would potentially fund?
I’m really concerned about the security of the connected home/office. As we increase the number of connected devices in our homes and offices, we generate an increasing amount of data exhaust not just from ourselves but also from the appliances in our homes. This has serious implications as it contains very personal information. And more often than not, when security lapses do occur, it is due to consumers not taking proactive steps in securing their networks. Just recently, a Russian website was able to access thousands of IP cameras over the Internet. Similar to what antivirus and firewall software did to carve out an industry of its own, I’d like to see a simplified security solution that secures all that data being spewed out from smart appliances.
If you could wave a magic wand and instantly have any imaginable solution to a problem you’re facing (personally or at work), what problem would you solve?
I’d like to see a reinvented Craigslist. Finding a rental apartment in San Francisco is still a very tedious process. My biggest frustration with Craigslist is that it is subject to a tremendous amount of noise in its listings. Often, I encounter scams, duds, and fake listings. I can’t really complain about a free service that has been around since the 2000s, but I am surprised that the long-term rental market has not seen any major developments since then. Although we see rental aggregators such as PadMapper that mines Craigslist’s dataset, it does not solve the fundamental problem of efficiency in the rental market.
If you have a startup or you’re interested in any of Scrum’s portfolio companies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Gerald directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.