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Tech Innovation and the Tech Startup Eco-system in Silicon Valley


Lim Jun Wen, Alvin, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication Studies

22 May 2017

In collaboration with the U.S Embassy in Singapore, Nanyang Technopreneurship Center invited Ms Rekha Pai Kamath for a talk on the advent of technological innovation and the tech start-up eco-system in Silicon Valley on 7th August at the Research Techno Plaza.

 

Ms Kamath not only holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and an MBA from Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business, but also has more than 15 years of experience in various product management, marketing, and product development positions at companies such as Juniper Networks, Symantec Corp, Applied Materials, Sun Microsystems, and Procket Networks.

 

Currently, she holds a position as the Vice President of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, a venture capital firm. Ms Kamath is also part of the board of Fast Forward, an Accelerator for non-profits based in San Francisco and finally, is part of the selection committee for Techwomen, a US Department of State Initiative that seeks to connect global women leaders in technology with those in Silicon Valley.

 

Ms Kamath spoke to budding entrepreneurs about the increasing impact technology has had on society and how that has translated into new enterprises. With greater connectivity and rise of big data, new business models have appeared and become commonplace in a remarkably short time. Many of these start-ups spend their early years in Silicon Valley – which begs the question of whether Silicon Valley is best ecosystem for start-ups.

 

Ms Kamath shared that Silicon Valley’s negative stereotypes, with descriptors such as “arrogant” and “insular”, are largely unfounded. In her years, she has seen that employees there are valued for their contributions and are rewarded for their contributions. Many tech start-ups are flat organizations which reduce the distance between employer and employee. Previous failures were not stigmatized, which encouraged young entrepreneurs to take risks, and fail fast. Most importantly, many start-ups were open to collaborate and share resources with each other, resulting in greater collective growth – and a vibrant community that can innovate and use modern tools to create impact on the world.

Similarly, students looking to start their own enterprise should learn from the example set by Silicon Valley – replicating and reaping the benefits of Silicon Valley culture right here in Singapore, a country often criticised for risk aversion.​