Ash Singh, Interactive SG

Ash Singh, CEO of Interactive.SG and Creator of Angel’s Gate has blended entrepreneurship with digital media to create a platform that he calls Angel’s Gate to push to the next level of digital marketing. He shares his notes with Digital Market Asia: 

What was the idea behind creating Angel’s Gate?

We love entrepreneurship and digital media. We combined the two to create Asia’s premier business reality program on a 360-degree media platform. Angel’s Gate takes the concept of community and expands it into an online network. It offers budding entrepreneurs an unprecedented opportunity for exposure. They have a platform to pitch their dream business ideas to a global audience and to some of Asia’s biggest investors and venture capitalists.

How have you used the digital space to push this concept ahead?

Angel’s Gate pushes the boundaries of digital marketing. Angel’s Gate online is where it all starts, where entrepreneurs can sign up for a free account to showcase their ideas on a project page. They are then encouraged to leverage their social graphs to garner massive support.  They can promote their projects on social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or use various e-marketing strategies from email to online advertising.  At this stage alone, they can raise funds for their projects, attract and recruit talents to be part of their ventures, and create baseline awareness for their brand and value propositions to a broad spectrum of online viewers. Clout within the online community then propels them to the next stage: an chance to pitch to the “Angels” – the judges on Angel’s Gate TV and managers of the Angel’s Gate fund.

Yet another exciting dimension to Angel’s Gate is on YouTube. As official online broadcast partner, YouTube exclusively distributes Angel’s Gate TV full episodes, behind-the-scenes footage, and feature interviews with the entrepreneurs in high-definition.

Finally, the Angel’s Gate mobile platform brings selected content from both the TV and online platforms to smart phones. Apps for the leading smart phones are available through their respective channels, turning the mobile device into a second screen whereby new episode-related content is made available to support the weekly TV show. Entrepreneurs featured every week are profiled alongside interviews, and social media discussions.

On top of using the digital space effectively, Interactive.SG has partnered with several of the best in class brands for several components involved in producing Angel’s Gate. For example, PayPal is the crowd-funding partner, Microsoft is providing their Office 365 product, Google is involved with their web apps, Amazon Web Services is the hosting service partner, and as mentioned before, YouTube is the online content distribution partner.

Who are the key investors involved in this project? 

Angel’s Gate is self-funded. Interactive.SG, the creator of Angel’s Gate, started the fund with support from Singapore’s Media Development Authority, and various investors and partners such as Crystal Horse Investments, The Indus Entrepreneur (TiE), SingTel Innov8, BANSEA, Microsoft BizSpark, and Singapore Venture & Private Equity Association, to name a few.

Your thoughts on crowd sourcing and crowd funding mechanics. How are they relevant in today’s competitive business scenario?

In 2006, Time magazine announced that the person of the year is everyone of use because of Web 2.0. Six years on, and we are seeing the involvement of Internet users in not just sharing content, but in sharing knowledge, ideas and resources too. Wikipedia crowd-sources information from its users; Facebook, a multi-billion dollar company, derives its content almost solely from its users. We see how the digital space has brought together people with similar interests beyond the confines of geography.

Angel’s Gate uses social media platforms like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook to share highlights and news from within the entrepreneurial and investor scene. In fact, about 70 per cent of consumers rely on communities formed by these social media platforms in making purchase decisions. These online conversations enable Angel’s Gate to listen to what audiences have to say, and consistently strive to enhance viewer experience.

The basis for crowd sourcing and crowd funding is social media and the active participation of people within that online community. Businesses can no longer rely solely on traditional media to communicate with the public and they know this. This is why they are actively integrating social media into their business development strategy.

What are your plans to extend this concept to other regions?

Asia is a hotbed for entrepreneurs and we even see people coming from around the world to build their businesses. Because of this, we are already in the pre-production phase for several other region-specific iterations of Angel’s Gate within Asia. Some of the key markets we are targeting are China, India, and Indonesia.

How many entrepreneurs are you looking at who are promoting online businesses? Is there better money in online businesses today would you say?

I would say about 50-70 percent of entrepreneurs are seriously looking at online businesses, largely because these do not require as much capitalization and they’re scalable. It generally takes a smaller seed capital to get an online business up and running. With no essential need for a physical office location at the start, entrepreneurs can focus on getting a quality product or service out for lesser costs in time and money. Overheads are generally lower, and thus it would be easier for online businesses to become more profitable.

What are your next projects you are working on? Please share your growth plan.

Along with several localised versions of Angel’s Gate in Asia in the works, we are also looking forward to starting Season 2 of Angel’s Gate. We are also launching a new version of our popular mobile app Turbanizer soon.