SLINGSHOT Spotlight Series: Crayon Data
The SLINGSHOT Startup Spotlight series is a collection of stories featuring SLINGSHOT alumni who continue to blaze the trail post-SLINGSHOT. In each instalment, the founders and teams from the alumni share their experience in building and growing their companies. To apply for SLINGSHOT 2021, please click here.
A big data and artificial intelligence (AI) startup with a mission to help businesses provide personalization experiences to their customers through their flagship product maya.ai
(Caption: Crayon Data CEO and Founder, Suresh V Shankar, pitching at the SLINGSHOT 2020 Grand Finals)
In the fourth edition of our SLINGSHOT Startup Spotlight series we had a chat with Rohit Ghosh who handles the sales and business development efforts as well as partnerships in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand regions for Crayon Data.
Crayon Data started from a conversation which the three co-founders had at an airport, talking about how people today have an overwhelmingly large number of options to choose from. According to Barry Schwartz, “this makes you frustrated, less likely to choose, more likely to mess up, and less happy overall”. The founders wanted to combat this problem with the idea of “Less is more”, and so Crayon Data was born in 2012.
Fast forward 8 years, Crayon Data was fast tracked from Huawei’s SPARK competition into SLINGSHOT 2020 and became the sector winner for the Digital Solutions and Consumer Products category. Post-competition they have been focused on international expansion and growth. Let’s hear how this Singapore-based startup has been keeping busy since SLINGSHOT 2020!
Q: Could you share with us your SLINGSHOT journey; what made you join the competition and what were some of the key milestones you have experienced?
A: From 2020, we had planned to grow our company by five times, and to increase our footprint within the banking ecosystem, especially in Southeast Asia.
Prior to getting involved with SLINGSHOT, we had a couple of clients in Southeast Asia – a couple from India and Middle East. These were the three markets we had presence in, and we really wanted to scale up and expand our client interactions and market share.
We’ve been working closely with a lot of partners to achieve our goal. Enterprise Singapore has been a key partner in opening up many doors with strategic clients as well as opportunities to collaborate with other startups.
Q: We understand that you took part in a SLINGSHOT partner competition as well – Huawei SPARK. What was your experience like?
A: It was amazing! The Huawei SPARK Competition were looking to bridge the gap between traditional enterprises and upcoming startups by connecting their innovative technologies with enterprises to transform their businesses.
As a winner of the Huawei SPARK competition, we were also onboarded as a Huawei cloud partner and worked together to sign deals with Huawei’s clients to further close businesses in both Singapore and Asia. Through our partnership with Huawei, we were also able to work with them to develop new product offerings on their cloud platform.
(Caption: Judges at SLINGSHOT 2020 Grand Finals on 9 December 2020.)
Q: Has internationalisation been a key focus for Crayon Data, and do you have other markets you are keen on going into?
A: Crayon Data is currently expanding our footprint rapidly through an ecosystem of partners and advisors with strong connections in key markets that we would like to target.
We have clients in Southeast Asia, Middle East and India which we call our home markets. We then have what we call growth markets which are countries like Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, and North America. Lastly, we look at reactive markets which are from Japan, China, Northern Europe as well as Europe. These are the three markets we look at for internationalisation.
Q: After SLINGSHOT, Crayon Data also participated in Enterprise Singapore’s Global Innovation Alliance programmme - could you tell us about that?
A: We first heard of it through Enterprise Singapore. We joined the Global Innovation Alliance programme organised by Plug & Play, which provided networking and mentoring sessions. We had the chance to network directly with the attendees, and be connected to our target customers, including the top banks in the Southeast Asian region, and the heads of innovation of key corporates. The experience was seamless and well-oriented. After the programme, we received a lot of email introductions from the top funnel pipeline leads in Indonesia and Philippines which we found very helpful.
Q: Moving forward in the next two to three years, what are Crayon Data’s key aspirations?
A: Our first step to achieving our 5x growth plan is to double the company and halve the friction. Doubling the company means doubling up everything from revenue to number of clients, annual recurring revenue and job presence. Halving the friction means to essentially reduce all operational time to onboard a partner and the time it takes to find new leads.
Q: What are some words of encouragement or advice would you give to the upcoming SLINGSHOT participants this year? Was there anything you wished you knew before joining the competition?
A: In my very honest opinion, the short answer is that SLINGSHOT is a no brainer for any startup, as it opens doors to many high-quality meetings to key connections that a startup needs.
Going into the competition, one would assume that the competition would probably be Asia-focused but that was certainly not the case. Some of our greatest conversations came from partners in the European and Latin American market.
So the advice I’d give would be that if you are looking to expand into new markets, this will be a great event to connect with relevant target audiences in their clients portfolio. It would be great if this was physically done, but there is no drop in the quality of the event even though it’s done virtually!
This article was brought to you by SLINGSHOT 2021. Applications for this year’s cohort has been extended to 12 Aug 2021! Don’t miss your chance to expand your horizons and open the door to internationalisation opportunities for your startup just like Crayon Data did.
Apply now and submit your pitch today.
To learn more about SLINGSHOT, please click here.